STATE MUST NOT TURN ITS BACK ON HIGHER ED

March 09, 2001 11:00 pm

State must not turn

its back on higher ed

Eastern Oregon University students, faculty and staff members probably should have been in class or on the job on campus Tuesday.

Instead, about 100 Eastern representatives left early in the morning to join a rally that day on the steps of the Capitol in Salem to urge legislators to provide more money for higher education.

Solid

financial support for higher education should be a no-brainer among our legislators, most of whom are college-educated themselves.

Yet the strain provided by low revenue forecasts and the tug for money for other things like K-12 education and the state health plan has made Oregons university system vulnerable.

The Eastern representatives had one clear message in mind in joining the nearly 2,000 other state university system supporters at the rally. The EOU participants support adequate funding for the states seven public universities and specifically want the Legislature to commit money for Easterns proposed science building.

Gov. John Kitzhabers budget suggests $96 million in cuts from current university service levels. Would a reduction like that result in tuition increases that would drive some of our students away from school?

Higher education is a key to Oregons future. The economy might be turning a little sour, but this is no time for the governor and our legislators to turn their backs on providing adequate funding for our states

universities.