Sunday, January 23, 2000

Students sit in at caucus

Group wanted to show support

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — This time it was a group of university students who got the attention of legislators at the latest Northern Kentucky legislative caucus.

        A group of about 20 students sat in to show their support for the legislature in its efforts to secure state funding.

        “We are so under-funded,” said Christopher Boggs, Northern Kentucky University's student government president and an organizer of the group. “We take a dollar and go a mile with it.”

        The group calls itself Team 2000 and was organized this year by Mr. Boggs, who wanted to do something to help NKU and the region.

        He tried to emphasize three points to the legislative group.

        “One is that they've got strong student support if they need us,” he said. “That we've got a lot of people who know who they are and we're counting on them. And to thank them.”

        The students have already completed a letter-writing campaign and invited local legislators to meet with them. Some group members will head to Frankfort on Feb. 17 to meet with legislators and committees that are addressing some of the issues they're concerned about.

        While they support the Metropolitan Education and Training Services Center, their No. 1 priority is making sure faculty and staff are paid well. Salaries are not near benchmark standards, Mr. Boggs said.

        “Our faculty and our staff is mainly the most important thing,” he said. “Our faculty is so good, and they're such good mentors, they deserve the funding.”

        The group also plans to bring a larger group to Frankfort on March 23.

        “I thought today was great,” said Melissa Ziegler of Newport, a member of Team 2000. “They seem very supportive of what we're doing.”

        Along with the concerns of the students, caucus members heard residents speak on perennial issues such as abortion, capital punishment, emissions testing and urban sprawl.

        Many also addressed the need to fund programs for seniors and for the mentally retarded.

        The next meeting of the Northern Kentucky legislative caucus will be from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 5 at the Boone County Extension Service office.


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