Education Cuts Spur Rally at Capitol

Students rallied downtown Thursday for National Student Day of Action for Education with the Florida Alliance for Student Action in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers the university may face in the future.

Students marched from the Kleman Plaza to the Capitol with Florida A&M student government members leading the way.

As students from FAMU, FSU and TCC marched with signs, their message was clear: preserve the ability to get an education.

Among those at the Capitol was Troy Harris, FAMU’s student government vice president, who expressed why the voice of students is important.

“It’s most important for our voices to be heard,” Harris said. “Sometimes people need to know that they even have a powerful voice worthy enough for the masses to hear.”

Members of the Progress Coalition were also there to support today’s protest.

While recent attacks on education have put FAMU and its students at a disadvantage, attempts to stop all Pell Grants and greatly reducing the amount of Stafford Loans while tuition rates skyrocket dispute assurance of fair rates.

“I feel that the attempt to disband all Pell grants is just another example of the people in power behaving senselessly when affecting the masses,” said Harris.

Other issues involving student disadvantages is a voter suppression bill, which targets individuals who frequently change addresses using third-party organizations to register to vote.

Lucius Oglesby, a senior African-American studies student who is a supporter of the National Day of Action, said that being unaware of the issues the university is facing negatively affects the community surrounding FAMU.

“The only concern I have in regards to FAMU is that the awareness of certain issues and potential dangers to the university is not widespread amongst students,” Oglesby said, “which will cause reactionary measures instead of preventive measures from the student base.”

Students at the rally generated an environment where state officials recognized that FAMU students care about their futures.

“I feel that today’s event will further spread the message of student agency, solidarity and awareness,” said Oglesby.

Ralph Wilson, a long-time supporter of the Progress Coalition and the leader of Occupy Tallahassee, shared his concerns and support for education in Florida.

“One simple question,” said Wilson. “Why is education so expensive?”

Wilson continued, “If someone could explain how thousands of students in Tallahassee have a tremendous debt by the time they graduate, I would greatly appreciate it.”