Breaking for capital for second round

Instead of going to the beach this spring break, 16 UH students are headed to the state capital March 14 and 15 on behalf of all students.

“The Student Government Association will be having one-on-one meetings with state representatives on Monday and Tuesday,” said Kate Gaviola, director of external affairs for SGA and the current secretary for the Texas Student Association, in an e-mail interview.

“For each day, we have scheduled to meet with at least three state representatives. We are also willing to meet with other state representatives’ staffs who are knowledgeable on the higher education topic.”

Because of a projected $27 billion shortfall in the Texas budget, state support for UH’s operating costs will drop 12 percent for the 2011 fiscal year compared to what it was 10 years ago, as reported in a Faculty Senate budget presentation.

Aside from this, UH will be faced with cuts in financial aid.

UH is expected to lose up to $65 million for the biennium, said SGA President Prince Wilson in a previous interview with The Daily Cougar. This planned trip to Austin follows one Wilson undertook on Feb. 2 with similar intentions.

The March 14 and 15 trip follows a rally at the State Capitol, planned for March 12, against public education cuts, not just those in higher education.

“This was one of the events that was brought up (and) that could give public schools media coverage that will hopefully show how much students, faculties and administrators are against the higher education cuts,” Gaviola said.

She also added that “UH students are more than welcome” to attend this rally.

As for SGA’s trip, their intent is more focused.

“The meeting will provide us a smarter and more efficient way to voice what UH will be facing with the looming budget cuts and how it will greatly impact UH,” Gaviola said.

While only 16 students are scheduled to talk with state legislators, other UH students are able to join the group in Austin.

“If students would still like to participate in our SGA Capitol days, they are more than welcome to meet us in Austin and we will include them in our meetings,” Gaviola said. “We will also have a workshop that will provide the participants more knowledge on the subject and what the process is like.”

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