ABAC students rally against budget cuts - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

ABAC students rally against budget cuts

By Jay Polk - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) – With tough economic times in Georgia, state government budgets are being slashed.

And that includes the university system.

But at one South Georgia college, students, faculty and staff say the cuts are too deep.

Budget cuts are a frequent topic of discussion in Atlanta this year, from both the governor: "in his proposal, in January, proposed another $265 million dollars in cuts to the university system," said Dr. David Bridges, the President of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

And the legislature: "the General Assembly came along and said, 'you know, we think it might be $300 million above the $265 million by the governor,'" said Dr. Bridges.

If the proposed budget cuts go through, it would have a devastating impact on colleges and universities statewide, including ABAC. The college could lose almost 30 percent of its total annual budget.

According to Dr. Bridges, "that would put our state appropriation buying power at about 50 per cent of our 1995 appropriation."

While faculty and staff have been watching the budget battles closely, the latest proposals made another group stand up and pay attention.

While budget concerns may not seem like a typical thing for college students to protest. These students realized that these budget cuts may affect them in the wallet.

That's because budget cuts and tuition hikes usually go hand in hand. The students quickly recognized the threat that the latest proposal posed. And they took action.

"We had a petition signing in the dining hall where the SGA senators would sit in the dining hall and get people to sign the petition, we wrote letters," said Kati Andrews, President of the ABAC Student Government Association.

And that led to a rally held Thursday on campus. More than 100 students, faculty and staff members gathered at Howard Auditorium. While university officials gave speeches, the strongest words came from the students themselves.  And there's a reason for that.  According to Andrews: "it's very important to us."

And if these students have their way, the storm clouds will go away at colleges and universities budgets statewide.

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