Thursday, November 15, 2001

UC students protest budget cuts




By Kate Macek
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — Students angry and fearful of mid-year tuition increases gathered outside the Statehouse Wednesday to protest state budget cuts to higher education.

        But many of the small group of about 20 students, most of whom came from the University of Cincinnati, say Gov. Bob Taft and the Ohio General Assembly aren't listening.

        “We don't feel like (students) are a top priority to the people who have been elected to represent us,” said Randy O'Hara, a member of the UC student Republicans. “I think one of the reasons we don't vote and one of the reasons we don't participate in government is that we don't feel important.”

        Mr. Taft ordered 6 percent funding cuts at most state agencies to help fill a projected $1.5 billion deficit in the state's $44.9 billion budget. The governor and lawmakers are negotiating a budget balancing plan that may require deeper cuts.

        Roderick Chu, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, said those cuts set back state funding to 1990 levels, forcing universities to raise tuition another 6 percent to 7 percent.

        “We already are in the top 10 of states in terms of our in-state tuition, and it's getting worse,” Mr. Chu said.

        He said that tuition increases would be much bigger if not for cutbacks in student services, increases in class sizes and other cuts.

       



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