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Local students rally for higher ed

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More than 100 Grambling State University representatives and 25 Louisiana Tech University representatives joined forces at the state capitol to speak on higher education cuts on Wednesday. Pictured are the GSU representatives outside the state Capitol.

Facing a possible $131 million cut, colleges and universities from around the state, including two local universities, gathered at the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol Wednesday in protest of budget cuts.

As part of Higher Education Day, an annual event held for higher education institutes, 25 Louisiana Tech University representatives and 112 Grambling State University representatives joined more than 2,000 people to protest the cuts.

Tech Student Government Association President Maggie Brakeville said representatives from the higher education institutes rallied together to speak on the importance of higher education.

“Louisiana’s future is in higher education,” she said. “We, as the student body, just want answers and solutions to these budget cuts.”

GSU SGA President Jonathan Wallace said this year’s Higher Education Day was to show the Legislature the importance of higher education and demand fewer cuts to the institutions.

“Everybody, from community colleges to state universities, was there for one common cause,” he said. “We just want to secure the future of higher education to the state and bring stability back.”

Brakeville said universities from the Northwest and North Central area of the state met with the Shreveport-Bossier City Business Alliance to stress the importance of higher education in the region.

“Everyone must understand the importance of higher education,” she said. “We have to let them know we will one day be in the workforce as well.”

Wallace said presidents from all college and university government associations present met with Gov. John Bel Edwards in a closed-door meeting about higher education after the rally.

Wallace said the presidents stressed to the governor about decreasing budget cuts and the importance of higher education in the state.

“We wanted him to know what was going on around campuses and how the students feel,” he said. “We wanted an update on the situation and see if we can find some common ground.”

Brakeville said she has had students approach her about the budget cut situation in the past.

“They’re scared,” she said. “They fear the unknown. But that’s why we’re here. We want to let our legislators know we want a stable budget and stable future.”

Wallace said he was impressed with the number of representatives from GSU who attended because GSU SAG funded buses for them to do so.

“It was a success,” he said. “We came together for a common cause and had our voices heard, now we just have to wait and see.”

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