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Whats next for the SGA Petition and our 8.2% budget cut?

SGA President Allison Norris talks on the phone while dealing with the day-to-day grind of running an administration.
Students at Missouri Western State University are forced to walk a path of misfortune in the aftermath of an 8.2 percent budget cut. Western’s Student Government Association planned a rally on June 22 this year to voice their concerns that they were dissatisfied with the State’s budget cut towards Western.

“Missouri Western shouldn’t be singled out to lose more funding than any other school,” SGA Vice President Jacob Scott said. “Even before the cuts, we receive less per student from the state than any other university in the state.”

After taking office SGA President Alison Norris wanted Western’s disapproval of State cuts to be heard, but she had no idea that the fight was already lost.

“At the time the rally was set, we never dreamed the 8.2 percent budgets were permanent, but later discovered they were,” Norris said.

President Robert Varabedian believes that Gov. Nixon’s search for extra money was aided when he discovered the tuition increase and the extra revenue our University was getting. “The Governor felt that because of Joplin and the need for extra money, he felt he had to get the money from somewhere,” Vartabedian said.

Norris and SGA continue to urge students and community leaders to sign the petition online voicing their concerns with Gov. Nixon’s cuts toward their University.

Norris said that the petition is more “symbolic” at this time, and she went on to say that the SGA petition has over 1,000 signatures from students to community leaders.

The petition is making noise around the St. Joseph community, but has the state of Missouri heard the cries of our students?

“We don’t plan on handing the petition off to anyone,” Norris said. “We just want to show that students are upset with the budget cuts, and we plan to take action.”

Student leaders and Director of External Relations Beth Wheeler plan to make a visit to Jefferson City on September 13. Their goal is to meet with Governor Nixon’s right hand man for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mike Neitzel. SGA hopes to gain more information about this cut.

“Now that school is in session, we will probably have some type of forum once we meet with Dr. Neitzel, and have received more information on where this budget cut of 8.2 percent will go,” Norris said.

It is the worry of the students, as well as that of faculty and administrators, where these cuts may be forced to take place. When looking at what budget cuts may affect, we may be looking at a whole list of adverse circumstances.

“With the budget cut it could at some point hurt student organizations on campus,” Norris said.

If professors who advise organizations on campus lose their jobs, then who would be left to advise? Western could see organizations disappear, which is one of the main forms of entertainment and involvement for students. The fact is, Missouri Western raised their tuition for the school year, but is still below most universities regarding out-of-pocket costs.

It seems that Missouri Western took the direct hit. So the fight to gain the budget back continues, with SGA and the St. Joseph community behind the school’s effort. It has been expressed many times: “You can’t keep a Griffon down.” Scott said.

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