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Student leaders will walk to Capitol May 9-12
Stressing higher ed funding
Student leaders walk to St. Paul to support higher education funding.
Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office news release [5/5/2011]
Student leaders at Minnesota State University, Mankato again will walk 95 miles from Mankato to St. Paul in three days to draw attention to the importance of higher education funding.
Former Minnesota State Student Association President Tom Williams and former vice president Brett Anderson will repeat the three-day walk they made last year, accompanied by new President Matt Lexcen and new VP Moriah Miles. The four – plus several other students – will leave from Centennial Student Union at 10 a.m. Monday, May 9, and will arrive at the State Capitol at noon Thursday, May 12.
When they get to the Capitol steps they’ll meet with key legislators, pointing out that decreased state funding for higher education increases the financial pressure on college students.
“We are marching to the Capitol to get a promise from legislative leaders and Gov. Dayton for a vision of public higher education that strengthens future Minnesota leaders and workers, and doesn’t force our generation to suffer for years with massive financial debt,” Williams said.
“We are concerned about the future of our institution and students and families that are struggling to afford higher education,” Anderson added.
Williams and Anderson want to emphasize to legislators, the governor and taxpayers that public higher education is increasingly funded by students and other private sources.
“The state of Minnesota made a commitment to provide more than 50 percent of total revenue for higher education, and it has reneged on that commitment,” Williams said. “Students pay more despite decreased class offerings, fewer professors and fewer services.”
Anderson pointed out that students contribute 55 percent of total higher education revenue in Minnesota, and projections show that’s increasing. “The continued pattern of decreased funding to higher education has left Minnesota’s graduates and future leaders with devalued degrees and more debt,” he said.
The students will walk the Sakatah-Singing Hills Trail from Mankato to Faribault, through the communities of Madison Lake, Elysian, Waterville and Morristown. Then they’ll trek to Northfield on county and state highways. They’ll walk county roads from Northfield to Lakeville, and then through Apple Valley, Eagan, Mendota Heights and West St. Paul to the State Capitol.
Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,393 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 state institutions.