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UConn Advance

Students rally against proposed cuts to higher ed
by David Pesci - April 4, 1997

About 250 students from UConn, the Connecticut State University System and community-technical colleges protested outside the state Capitol Wednesday against proposed cuts to higher education.

The students jammed the north side of the Capitol, waving signs that read "Stupid is as stupid does," "Show me the money" and "Human needs, not corporate greed."

The giddy crowd also chimed in with chants of "We vote."

"I am incensed at this perennial budget mess. Every year they cut us, every year we have to do this dance," said Will Clark, a UConn economics major.

"We would like the state to give us our due and give us the funding we need. Also, I would like a personal apology from Governor Rowland for making us go through this every year.

"Every year the legislators threaten us. Were the future. Don't threaten the future."

Lou Mangini, a political science major, also said he was getting tired of the annual task.

"Every year they try to cut our funding. Every year we have to scream and shout," he said. "I'm sick of it."

The students were joined by sympathetic legislators, including state Sen. Kevin Sullivan, D-West Hartford.

"Behind me in this building is the past. In front of me is the future," he said, addressing the crowd. "It's time we started taking stock in the future."

He was joined by state Reps. Denise Merrill, D-Mansfield and Thomasina Clemons, D-Vernon, and state Sen. Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Thompson.

The General Assembly's Appropriations subcommittee on higher education, co-chaired by Williams and Clemons, has recommended to the full committee that a proposed 10 percent cut in higher education not be implemented, and that full funding should be instituted.

The proposed state budget would mean a $27 million cut for UConn during the next two fiscal years.

The higher education subcommittee's report is being reviewed by the co-chairs of the full Appropriations Committee. Committee members later this month will vote to accept the proposed cuts, reject them or modify them.

For students at Wednesday's rally, the choice is clear.

"I wish they would just give us the money we need so we can learn in peace," Mangini said.

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