Protesting is integral to safeguarding the value of our degrees
We slept comfortably in our heads, ignoring the storm that was continually banging against our windows. It took a rock with the number 25 on it to wake us up from our pathetic slumber.
It took the threat of a 25 percent tuition increase to wake us up and force us to realize that our university is in trouble. The rock that shattered our windowpanes of apathy will soon become a living nightmare for the students of Nevada’s higher education system. We are those students.
As Gov. Jim Gibbons addressed the state last week he made it clear that there will be cuts to education, regardless of his professed care for Nevada’s K-12 and higher education systems. UNLV faces a 52 percent cut, while our friends in the north will take a 47 percent cut.
Our school teachers that got us into college will receive a 6 percent salary cut. The K-12 system will take a $62 million dollar hit, constituting 10 percent of the total cuts to the state’s budget. Higher education will take the greatest hit from Gov. Gibbon’s sucker punch with a cut totaling $473 million, 75 percent of the proposed budget cuts.
If no single group will shoulder the burden that is these budget cuts, then why should the students of Nevada take 86 percent of the cuts?
Why should our brothers, our sisters, our future take a hit when the K-12 system is struggling to put teachers in classrooms and keep them there? Why should we, the students of Nevada’s colleges and universities pay more in tuition fees when our instructors, professors and course offerings are vanishing?
If Gov. Gibbons cares about Nevada’s education system, or the students and teachers that make up those systems, then why does he place the yoke on our necks and tell us to pull the state out of this budget crisis?
He doesn’t want to raise taxes, and I commend him on how well he has kept that campaign promise, but cutting the funding to the higher education system will result in drastic tuition increases. Those inevitable tuition hikes will be paid by the students who will continue to hold on to the dream of a college education.
Students will pay more in tuition, and that is the same thing as having us pay additional taxes.
That is only one of the snarling beasts we now face as students in Nevada. The other is the apathy that has plagued our campus for so long. No longer can we ideally sit around ignoring the threat to our school, to our education. Regardless, if you are a freshman or a senior preparing to pay your graduation fee, these cuts will hurt us all.
Our degrees will continue to lose their value as UNLV is forced to make continued cuts to programs. I have already seen good professors handed the pink slip, professors that inspired me and taught me more than what my classes were intended to. I worry about the classes that will come after mine. What will they have at UNLV?
It is those worries that propel me to write this. I hope that for once we can truly be rebels, that we can use our most powerful weapon, our voices, to loudly proclaim to our elected representatives in Carson City that we will not quietly stand by as the institutions that we hold so dear are ravaged.
As rebels and as Nevadans we will come together and tell Gov. Gibbons and the state Legislature that we do not accept these cuts to our future, to our state’s future. Today, students from UNLV, Nevada State College and the College of Southern Nevada will come together as one state student body at 6 p.m. on the academic mall to rally against the proposed budget cuts.
I beg you to come to the rally. I beg you to take a moment to write to your legislature. I beg you to use your voice and let it be known that you support your school, your neighbor’s school and all other schools in Nevada. We are students of Nevada, we are the future of this state, which makes us one of the most powerful forces in the Silver State.
I beg you to use your voice, not only for your own sake, but for Nevada’s.