“Budget Cuts Have Got to Go!” Cry UT Students

By Nancy Ramsey

Mar 4, 2011 4:42pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Melanie Torre blogs: "Hey hey, ho ho, these budget cuts have got to go!" That was the rallying cry for some 100 students who marched across the University of Texas at Austin campus carrying signs and posters. A proposed budget bill in the Texas Senate would cut UT's budget by $65 million in 2012-2013. "They say cut back, we say fight back," they chanted. Students Speak is the group that organized the rally. The group later took the march from campus to the Texas State Capitol. Texas legislators are asking state agencies to lower funding requests by 10 percent in efforts to decrease a budget shortfall of close to $18 billion. UT President William Powers testified at a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday explaining the impact these cuts would have on the university. If the current budget cut proposal is passed, UT's College of Liberal Arts would lose $3.5 million in funding by 2014. President Powers told the committee that his biggest concern is how these cuts will affect students and faculty and hurt the university as a whole when it comes to competing with others schools nationwide. The cutback could eliminate departments like Asian American studies, Mexican American studies and Women's and Gender studies, according to an advisory committee made up of liberal arts faculty. One protestor said she's worried about the university losing representation of, say, Asian Americans or Mexican American groups on campus when their departments no longer exist. "You may never take a class in one of these departments but knowing that you have the opportunity is important because it brings diversity to the university," said sophomore physics major Jazmin Estrada. Estrada said students have fought to make these courses available. They teach others about different histories and cultures, and she doesn't want to see them disappear. Student government representative Matt Portillo has already been directly affected by previous budget cuts. He lost his internship as a result of "administrative cuts of non essential items". "[Students] don't want cuts preventing them from coming here by means of tuition increases. And they don't want this type of thing diminishing the quality of their education," said Portillo. The next Students Speak rally is scheduled for March 12.  

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