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Release: March 23, 2000

Regents universities' student leaders plan to march on capitol Tuesday

IOWA CITY- Student government leaders from the state's three Regents universities, along with a busload of students from each school, plan to rally on state capitol grounds next Tuesday to protest the proposed $13.8 million in combined cuts at the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University.

The "March on the Capitol," is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 28 and will be preceded by a 10 a.m. student government-led press conference in Room 118 in the capitol building. According to student government leaders, the march will be a united front of students from every corner of the state voicing their distress over the proposed House of Representatives legislation.

"The Iowa Regents universities are an asset to the entire state. These cuts threaten to greatly damage what the state values most -- the future of our children," UI Student Government President-elect Andy Stoll emphasized.

"Each school plans to bring a busload of students wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the logo
'It Takes Common Cents to Support Higher Education,' " Stoll said.

Chris Linn, newly elected UISG vice president, said the march is a joint effort by the three student legislative groups and emphasizes three main points: quality, accessibility and affordability.

In terms of quality, "these cuts mean a possible postponement of facilities improvements and renovation, especially in critical areas like the UI Library system," Linn said.

"Cuts at the libraries could endanger programs at each university affecting the entire state," he said. Additionally, Linn said the cuts could also "impede increases in faculty salaries, making the UI less attractive to the best faculty. Quality affects student learning. We want to make sure the students in Iowa receive the best education possible."

The second part of the students' platform is accessibility. University of Northern Iowa President-elect Dan Sterenchuk highlights the strong record Iowa State University, the UI, and UNI have in providing a quality education.

"If approved, this budget may leave the universities with no choice but to raise admission standards to decrease costs. This means Iowans could be left out of the opportunity of a higher education," he said.

The most serious concern, the students say, is the possible effect this could have on tuition.

It is estimated that if the appropriations bill passes and is signed, tuition at the three state schools will increase by as much as 12 percent in the fall. The money would be used to maintain quality at the universities, UI President Mary Sue Coleman said last week to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

"The worst part is that a tuition increase is not going to increase quality, but only keep it at the level we were at last year," said Matt Craft, ISU Student Body president.

"This issue isn't just about tuition," Linn says. "This is an issue for the entire state. Our state government is trying to make keeping younger and better paid Iowans an Iowa a priority. Cutting funding for our institutions of higher learning is certainly not the way to accomplish that goal."

Linn said the unanimous support of UI student government President-elect Sterenchuk, UNI's current president, Nick Arnold, combined with support from President-elect Ben Golding, and Craft of ISU, shows the unified message that cuts to those schools' budgets would reflect on student recruitment, student education and the quality of life for all Iowans.

"The citizens of Iowa cannot afford or accept inaction on this issue. Higher education has always been a pillar of strength for the state of Iowa," said Golding. "Without the state's continued support, the unfulfilled potential of Iowa's future will ultimately be what fails."

Earlier this week, the student government leaders jointly signed a letter to the editor and sent their unified opinion against the proposed cuts to all major and various other state newspapers. The leaders said they are hopeful the papers will print the letter in this Sunday's editions.

For more information about the proposed march, contact the respective student body presidents at their campus offices:

Government of the Student Body, ISU
President Matt Craft
President-elect Ben Golding
(515) 294-1585

Northern Iowa Student Government
President Nick Arnold
President-elect Dan Sterenchuk
(319) 273-2650

University of Iowa Student Government
President-elect Andy Stoll
Vice-President-elect Chris Linn
(319) 335-3860