From our friends at the Save UNO Coalition:
The Save UNO Coalition, a group of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the University of New Orleans will be holding a rally and block party for higher education on Wednesday, October 6th, at 12:30pm at the amphitheater on UNO’s Lakefront campus to protest the budget cuts and build energy for a state-wide mobilization in Baton Rouge on November 10th.
This Wednesday, UNO will send a clear message to the capitol. The Save UNO Coalition demands an end to the budget cuts, an end to faculty and staff layoffs, an end to tuition hikes, and full funding for public higher education in Louisiana. The block party for higher education will begin at 12:30pm on October 6th with a performance by local hip hop artist Truth Universal, and will feature a rally at 1:00pm with speakers from UNO’s student body, student government, alumni and faculty members.
There will be stations set up during the block party for students to contact their legislators via phone and email and voice their concerns about the budget cuts. UNO will remind Louisiana lawmakers that their constituents demand accessible, fully-funded public higher education. Instead of investing in our future, the Louisiana government has cut higher education by more than $250 million dollars over the past two years, with larger cuts promised once the Federal Stimulus money ends in the summer of 2011. As class sizes and teaching loads grow, and the variety of programs and course offerings shrink, tuition steadily increases. Affordable education is especially critical during times of economic crisis, and students should not pay more for a lower quality education.
This crisis is not about the budget, but a crisis of priorities in Louisiana’s legislature. The sudden and still-unexplained expulsion of UNO’s chancellor Tim Ryan leaves UNO’s student body and faculty without crucial leadership and advocacy at the state level, and is a threat to its self-governance. Louisiana must invest in our collective future by committing sufficient resources to higher education, not by shifting the burden to students, not by eliminating programs, and not by cutting staff and faculty. New Orleans is a unique, world-class city, and deserves a world-class, public university.