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Ohio College Voices: Higher Education Should be Valued

April 21, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Hundreds of Ohio college students are joining today to speak out against policies they say undermine public education.

Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget includes cuts to higher education through measures such as increased tuition, privatization and labor cost savings anticipated by the elimination of collective bargaining. Miami University student activist Aliya Rahman says these moves do not value higher education.

"We believe that there's much better ways to respond to budget 'crises' than doing things like chartering universities, eliminating programs like African-American studies and women's studies, cutting workers benefits and pay."

Public education should serve the public interest, Rahman says, but university administrators have been responding to budget cuts by making universities less accessible, less affordable and less inclusive. She and others say budget solutions are needed which include new revenues and fewer cuts to spending.

Will Klatt, a senior majoring in history at Ohio State University, says the move toward privatization or a corporate university model will have a negative impact on the quality of higher education in Ohio.

"They want to expand the size of classrooms, give more workloads to faculty, and then raise tuitions. All of this, we think, will diminish the value of our degrees."

Bonnie McGinnis, a doctoral student at Miami University, says bad policy is forcing many higher educators out of the state.

"We're seeing faculty leave, we're seeing graduate students go elsewhere, and this is going to ultimately affect the state because people are leaving. My fear is that what would be happening in higher education we're going to see trickle down into the public schools as well."

Approximately 10 schools have events planned, including Ohio State, Miami and Wright State universities and the University of Cincinnati.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH