Student walkout will take a stand on budget cuts, disinvestment in higher education

Southern Oregon University, like many other universities nationwide, has been severely impacted by the disinvestment in higher education, and students and community members have finally decided it is time to take a stand.

On Thursday May 17 at noon, students will be protesting by walking out of their classes and convening at the courtyard of the Stevenson Union, where they will be addressed by speakers who will speak about the issues at hand, emphasizing the importance of exercising one’s first amendment rights.

According to Justin Silva, an organizer of the event, if the state keeps seeing such drastic cuts in monetary support, students won’t be able to get jobs upon graduation, pay off their student loans, or even afford college.

“It’s an unsustainable practice that can’t expect to continue,” he said.

The walkout was organized to bring awareness to students of the jeopardy of their higher education now and the degree of which it could grow in the future, encouraging them to make their voices heard. According to Silva, 25, the administration has proven to be “friendly and cooperative” about the event, and is in complete accord with the cause for action.

The monetary disinvestment of the educational system holds implications that affect more than just students, but all of Southern Oregon as well. Silva explained Oregon is now paying 38 percent of student tuition as the government continues to withhold money from the educational system.

“Everybody has a voice and everyone is being affected by this,” he said.

Silva explained the event was a kickoff to a full-blown campaign next November. A national walkout is already in the making for next winter, where students will take buses to Salem to defend their interests. The first step, however, is getting students interested in exercising their rights through political involvement.

“[The disinvestment] isn’t beneficial for anyone, so we need to come together as a community to say enough is enough,” said Silva.

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