Students Pass Out Letters to Legislators

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Students Association finished handing out over 6,000 letters to Gov. Jay Nixon's office in opposition of a budget cut for higher education. Individual members also attended the House Higher Education meeting this morning to testify.

MSA President Xavier Billingsley said, "These letters come from all different parts of students, so if you have a student in the bootheel, the student in the bootheel wrote their senator, and they wrote their representatives and their governor."

MSA members met with House Speaker Steven Tilley, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, Rep. Chris Kelly and Rep. Mary Still to discuss higher education funding. Toombs said everyone was very receptive to students voicing their opinions about education.

Representative Mary Still is opposed to budget cuts in higher education and thinks it will hurt colleges and universities,

"What concerns me is that we will be using more and more adjunct professors, and the stellar professors that I had when I went to school, and that I have had through the years, a lot of them will look at other opportunities in other states."

Toombs said Representatives and Senators spoke with them about some alternative solutions for the group to look into. Some of the suggestions they suggested were to contact Missouri Alumni or other supporters to fight the cuts.

On Thursday, Gov. Nixon stated that $40 million of the $200 million Mortgage Settlement would go to the state to restore funding to public colleges and universities. Toombs said this agreement, which will soften the budget to about 8 percent, is really only a Band-Aid on an issue that needs to have a solution that will help in the long run.

The budget will not be finalized by legislators or even sent to the governor's desk for approval until May, so MSA said they have plenty of time. During that time, they plan to coordinate with other UM system campuses and student body groups to advocate support.