College and University students in Idaho will rally tomorrow at the Statehouse, demanding relief from fee hikes.
Students in California have been arrested protesting large cuts to higher education budgets there, with 150 students arrested in Oakland last week. On March 4, students across the country marched against fee hikes and budget cuts. Some were arrested at the University of Wisconsin as well.
At 3 p.m. Thursday, Idaho students will rally at the Statehouse in Boise and deliver a petition to lawmakers to curtail fee hikes at state colleges and universities. Some 40 students are coming from Pocatello and rally organizers expect students from Boise State, University of Idaho and Lewis and Clark State College.
Diana Painter, a senior in anthropology at Idaho State University, said Idaho legislators don't respect education, whether K-12, college or beyond.
“In Idaho it’s really sad because you can’t even really start with the premise that education is really important,” said Painter, one of the organizers of the rally.
On Feb. 25, more than 200 ISU students protested on campus, Painter said. The ISU student government has been lobbying the Legislature against massive cuts and endorses the rally tomorrow, according to Painter. It is not clear who is organizing students on the other campuses, if anyone.
“We are the future of the Idaho economy. To continue to tax students in this way is like eating your seed corn,” Painter declared. “Idaho needs a government who values public education. If this one doesn’t, we should elect one that does.”
The Legislature's budget committee slashed higher ed in Idaho by $32 million this week. Anticipating the cuts, each of Idaho's colleges has proposed significant fee increases in the coming year.
Painter said that Idahoans do not tend to protest much but that when they do, you know it's gotten bad.