For the past two weeks the campus has been strewn with fliers saying “WTF?,” part of a campaign organized by the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University urging students to protest proposed government cuts to higher education funding.
“It means ‘Where’s the Funding?,’” said Jake Falldorf, ASSOU Executive Director of Governmental Affairs. “It’s our response to attacks on funding for higher education and perceived attacks on student rights.”
The WTF? campaign protests several pieces of proposed legislation on both the state and federal level that would impact college students by slashing education budgets and financial aid, as well as allegedly limiting student voting rights.
House Resolution 1 is one example. HR1 is a piece of federal legislation that would have cut funding for the Pell Grant by 15 percent and reduced the budget for the Department of Education by $11.5 billion, although the latest version of the bill has reduced and, in some cases, eliminated some of the cuts.
On the state level, several pieces of legislation would allegedly discriminate against students by modifying the voter registration system to make it harder to register, charge undocumented students out-of-state tuition rates to attend Oregon universities, and cut education budgets state-wide.
ASSOU has been coordinating with the Oregon Student Association and the U.S. Student Association to protest the proposed legislation in Salem on April 25.
“It’s a big rally that’s going to happen,” said Emily McLain, Executive Director of the OSA. “We’re going to march through the capital. We’re hoping there’s going to be a couple hundred people there. We would love southern Oregon students to attend.”
“We’ve had a constant presence in the capital this legislative session,” said McLain. “We’re making sure legislators know about the debt students take on getting a degree.”
ASSOU is encouraging all SOU students to attend the rally. For more information on the WTF? campaign or the protest in Salem, contact Jake Falldorf at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the OSA website at www.orstudents.org.
Students can learn more about the WTF? campaign and the trip to Salem by attending the last of three training sessions ASSOU has held this Friday. The sessions are made up of seven breif information talks, just 20 minutes each.
“We want a more educated Oregon, a more educated citizenry,” said McLain. “Oregon needs to be competitive.”