the nicholls worth

Students need to fight for higher education


In a little over two months, the Louisiana State Legislature will convene its 2015 regular session and the countdown to the likely budget cuts coming to Louisiana higher education this spring will begin.

Putting the fate of this state’s institutions of higher learning in the hands of a man so financially inept that media outlets nationwide are beginning to pick up on what is happening is a bad sign of things to come.

Governor Bobby Jindal has driven Louisiana into the ground. When he took office, Louisiana had a billion-dollar surplus and now it faces a $1.6 billion budget shortfall. Higher education and Medicare have taken the majority, if not all, of the brunt of Jindal’s fiscal shortcomings. Unfortunately, he’s more concerned with his would-be presidential campaign than saving Louisiana.

During a breakfast meeting (where Jindal discussed his national education platform) in Washington D.C. on Monday, Dave Cook of the Christian Science Monitor wasted no time in pointing out that despite Jindal’s political deception that he is the champion of higher education. Louisiana has suffered the deepest budgets cuts per student in the nation.
As those students, we must have a say in what happens to our institutions. We cannot wait for those in power to decide when they want to hear our voices because it will be too late. It’s not wise to wait for the captain to figure out he’s steering the ship towards an iceberg because he’s occupied looking at the cruise ship he wants.

With the legislature convenes approaching, students have two months to become a voice onto themselves. It’s 2015. Everyone is a journalist, everyone has an opinion and everyone has an outlet to get his or her opinion out. Students are damn good at using social media for what they want. We don’t have to wait for a town hall meeting to have our grievances heard. Use those 140 characters to let it be known we will not let our education be taken from us because a man who may have a difficult time balancing a checkbook, let alone the state’s budget was elected long before the majority of us could vote.

Being apathetic is easy. So is believing that your voice isn’t worth hearing because someone else is making the decisions. As students have had to do many times before during Jindal’s tenure as governor, we have to take the hard road if we expect the cannibalism of Louisiana’s universities to end without us losing our opportunity to a better our future through higher education.

As Thomas Paine said during the winter of 1776 when the Revolutionary War looked its bleakest, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

No, we are not soldiers fighting for our country and the situations cannot be linked, but the words still hold true. This is higher education in Louisiana’s darkest hour and the fair-weather supporter will shrink away from the crisis. However, now is the time for students to fight for our future, because few are prepared to do it for us.

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The student newspaper of Nicholls State University
Students need to fight for higher education