Students rally at the State Capitol

3/23/2011 - By: Misha Ray
Students at the capital During the peaceful demonstration, hundreds of students flooded the halls of the Legislature building chanting, and then entered the chambers to witness the legislative process. Photo courtesy of Deidre Pike.

Hundreds of students from all over Nevada hoisted signs in front of the Nevada State Legislature building in Carson City on Monday to speak out against proposed cuts to education.

According to the student newspaper, about 1,300 students showed up to the rally, making it the largest rally to have taken place at the legislature in Nevada history. The same article noted 600 of those students were from the University of Nevada, Reno. Buses from southern Nevada drove up on Sunday evening, bringing students from the Las Vegas-area schools as well.

Casey Stiteler, president-elect of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) and organizer of the rally, was happy with the turnout.

“I was really pleased with the total number of students brought by all of the campuses,” Stiteler said. “Seeing each school there was great.”

The rally was a combined effort between all community colleges and universities in Nevada, with each college and university of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) having a strong presence. From the University of Nevada, Reno, students were provided the opportunity to travel by bus to the rally, paid for completely by students.

“ASUN, with support from the student body, paid for the buses to take students to Carson,” Stiteler said. “The money all came from student fees, paid to ASUN.”

With proposed cuts of up to 29 percent to NSHE, or $162 million and $59 million to the University of Nevada, Reno alone, the University is facing program closures, job losses and tuition increases. Having previously sustained $44 million in cuts from previous legislative seasons, University President  Milt Glick believes further cuts will damage the core of the University.

“As with all of our previous budget cuts, we have attempted to maintain the University’s core strengths, which include a strong research program and quality degree programs,” he said. “However, there is no denying that these proposals will have a dramatic impact on our campus. Cuts implemented previously, and cuts still to come, represent the greatest challenge the University of Nevada, Reno has ever faced in its more than 130-year history.”

Students were allowed into the Legislature to sit in on Nevada Senate and Assembly sessions occurring during the rally. According to Stiteler, the legislative staff was very open to allowing students into the building and worked well with the organizers of the rally.

“Though, they may have been surprised with the number of students we brought,” he said.

Stiteler wants students to know that ASUN’s Department of Legislative Affairs has been and will continue to be a driving force in protection of education.

“The rally is not the only thing we have done in regards to the budget cuts and we’ll continue to be there for students,” he said.

The ASUN senate will begin a 44-hour meeting in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union Wednesday evening to continue speaking out against the budget cuts. The 44-hour meeting is symbolic of the $44 million already cut from the University of Nevada, Reno budget.


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