MSA encourages MU students to protest Gov. Nixon's budget cuts

Monday, February 6, 2012 | 3:06 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Missouri Students Association will be appealing to students in the MU Student Center this week to sign a petition protesting Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposed cuts to higher education funding.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, MSA will have a tent set up in the student center to help students join the petition by signing letters to Nixon and to district representatives and senators.

“A Petition to Oppose a 12.5% State Funding Cut for the University of Missouri” was created in response to Nixon’s proposed 15.1 percent cut to higher education in his State of the State address in January.

The petition comes after the UM System Board of Curators’ meeting Thursday that addressed the looming issue of these higher education cuts within the UM System.

MSA has also set up an online petition that students can sign to object to the proposed cuts. As of Monday afternoon, the petition had 590 signatures.

Steven Dickherber, MSA executive chief of staff, said Zach Toombs, MSA director of student communications, was the brainchild of the petition.

Toombs, Dickherber, MSA Academic Affairs Chairman Ben Levin and other MSA officers soon started working to combat the cuts. The Associated Students of the University of Missouri has joined MSA in its efforts and is funding the petition.

MSA president Xavier Billingsley has also supported the petition.

Within two hours of being set up in the student center on Monday, MSA had already collected about 1,000 letters. Dickherber said MSA’s main goal is to get 5,000 letters from MU alone.

The letters that MSA provides to students are based on in-state or out-of-state status.

For in-state students, MSA suggests sending a letter to Nixon as well as the senator and representative of their district. For out-of-state students, MSA suggests sending a letter to Nixon, Missouri Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey and Mike Lair, chairman of the House Appropriations Education Committee.

The MSA tent in the student center will have pre-printed letters for students to sign this week. They will also provide district maps to help students find their representatives and pins for students to wear.

“I think this is the most important thing students can do this semester,” Dickherber said.

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