Students from Iowa’s three public universities are launching a public relations campaign — and they hope a rally in Des Moines on Monday will send a signal to Republican legislators who’ve called for a reduction in state support of the schools.
Iowa State University president Steven Leath suggests the personal stories of students are more persuasive than appeals from university administrators.
“We’ve told legislators so often that they’re probably tired of hearing it from us,” Leath said this afternoon. “Now they need to hear it from you, from your own mouths, in your oen words, on why you went to UNI or the University of Iowa, Iowa State.”
Leath spoke during a statehouse rally planned by student leaders from the campuses in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City.
University of Northern Iowa student body president Spencer Walrath delivered this message to lawmakers: “It is imperative that the people of Iowa and, more to the point, the people in this building recognize the incredibly valuable service that our public universities provide to our state.”
The student leaders have formed “Universities for a Better Iowa” and they’re inviting graduates of the three public universities to join students and Governor Branstad at Monday’s 5 p.m. rally on the state fairgrounds.
“Though we may be rivals on the athletic field, today we stand united,” said Dakota Hoben, student body president at Iowa State University.
University of Northern Iowa student Greta Johnson is the student-member of the board that governs the three universities. She described “Universities for a Better Iowa” as a grassroots movement.
“The opportunities for our students to receive a world-class education are in jeopardy and so are the opportunities for Iowa,” Johnson said.
Republican Governor Terry Branstad has proposed increasing state taxpayer support of the three public universities by $23 million in the next budgeting year. His fellow Republicans in the House propose a $31 million reduction.