Write, call legislators to say ‘no’ on budget cuts

Ideally, college students should seek out an active role in the legislative process every year, regardless of what’s on the agenda. Except that’s not always possible — students are busy, and cramming for a test often trumps writing a letter to a legislator.

This year, though, it’s worth putting the studying off for a few minutes to speak out against the potentially disastrous budget cuts proposed by Gov. Steve Beshear. If the governor’s budget passes, state universities will be forced to contend with a 12 percent reduction in funding. The Kentucky General Assembly has an opportunity to reverse this before approving the budget.

As the Senate and House of Representatives debate over the next several weeks, it will be easy for the legislators in Frankfort to lose track of how their decisions will trickle down to students. Unless, that is, those students make it clear to the lawmakers that slashing higher education funding will only hurt the state in the long run.

Over the next week, every student with an opinion on the budget cuts should make his or her voice heard by writing a letter or making a phone call.

Right now, perhaps the easiest way to contact a state legislator is through Student Government’s “Listen up Legislators” campaign, which started yesterday but continues today, Monday and Tuesday. Laptops will be set up in the White Hall Classroom Building between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and sending an e-mail to your legislator only requires you to enter your name, home county, address and telephone number; the program will do the rest.

If the SG-sponsored e-mail campaign doesn’t fit with your schedule, or if you want to make more personalized contact with your legislator, then get on the phone or write a letter explaining your opinion. Contact information for representatives of Fayette County and directions for looking up other legislators are listed to the right.

A reduction in state funding will almost certainly lead to larger tuition increases in the next few years, and it could mean cutting programs or scaling back faculty hiring. Considering UK’s goals for growth and expansion under the Top 20 Business Plan, no budget cuts can have a positive effect. Students will be affected, and they should make sure legislators understand this.