Student efforts for ed. must continue

If increased funding for higher education is something students are willing to fight for—and recent events indicate this is the case—then the fight should continue into next year.

With the Day of Action over, the best situation NIU can expect is to be able to spend the money raised by the tuition increase and not have to shut down next semester. However, precautions have to be taken to see that this year’s tuition fiasco does not happen again in 1988. Student actions both inside and outside the system should be combined to bring about the desired result.

One of the problems with this year is that most of the budgetary decisions were made before higher education interests mobilized and became active in fighting the cuts. The budget submissions—by the universities and the governor— and their analyses were made known in April. Most action did not take place until October.

But, as the saying goes, “better late than never.” As far as student involvement is concerned, that definitely is true. It is commendable that students went out and wrote letters, visited Springfield and rallied and protested all in the name of higher education. The fight, however, is not over. In fact, it has just begun.

Illinois Student Association President David Starrett currently is urging students to write to their state representatives. Written correspondence, Starrett argues, is one way students can prevent rising tuition at state institutions.

ISA board member Brian Hopkins added that letters are a way to continuously put pressure on legislators and show students are united and determined in their cause. How true. Only by applying constant pressure can any message be drummed into the heads of legislators.

Next March, Gov. James Thompson will propose another budget for fiscal 1989. By that time, the various groups—universities included—vying for state funds already will have submitted their budget requests. The state legislature then will get to decide who gets what.

If students maintain their efforts, the result of next year’s legislative decision might be quite different than this year’s. If pressure is continually put on the legislature, a tax hike rather than a tuition hike might be on their minds. Students must show they comprise a vocal, united group. Only then will their requests be taken more seriously.