ASG connects students with state government

” As the governor’s budget comes up for ridicule, a number of University of Akron students found themselves in the middle of the discussions. Associated Student Government along with Akron leads took 40 students to Columbus for a day at the statehouse. Students had the chance to talk with government officials including presidents of committees and senators, they were even offered the opportunity to sit in on House of Representatives or Senate meetings.”

As the governor’s budget comes up for ridicule, a number of University of Akron students found themselves in the middle of the discussions.

Associated Student Government along with Akron leads took 40 students to Columbus for a day at the statehouse.

Students had the chance to talk with government officials including presidents of committees and senators, they were even offered the opportunity to sit in on House of Representatives or Senate meetings.

The day began with a speech by Bruce Johnson, Inner-University Council and former Bowling Green State University President.

Johnson spoke on the economy and the future of higher education in Ohio.

This is the worst economy I have ever seen, Johnson said before addressing tuition.

According to Johnson, as a replacement to the tuition freeze which is going into its third and final year, universities have taken a voluntary tuition cap that will stop universities from raising tuition above a 3.5 percent.

Johnson said that all universities have committed to the agreement.

He also stated that he agreed with the re-writing of financial aid terms.

Where there are students who win, there are students who lose, Johnson said.

However, he believes a majority of students will benefit from the re-writing, because it will allow more students to apply for aid.

Johnson took time out to answer questions from the audience, including queries about specific scholarship funding and student fees.

While tuition may be on a limited rise, certain student fees such as food need to be able to rise with the costs of the product.

He did take the time to warn students of potential dangers that could be ahead.

With the budget consisting of $800 million in stimulus money, he warns unless budgeted wisely could be a problem.

As he stated, the $800 million is a one time payment, and in order to make up for that the economy needs to grow 19 percent in two years or cuts will be imminent.

His advice: carry money over into the next year.

Chris Hughes, Program and Outreach Coordinator for the Voting Rights Institute, stopped by to talk with student about voting and their rights as student voters.

As he stated numerous times over this 30-minute talk, there was an increase the impacts students could see locally and nationally.

Students were later asked about their days activities and also about the previous senate meeting by Senator Tom Sawyer, who held a brief meeting with them. In which Sawyer explained senate traditions and policy.

Governor Ted Strickland also set aside time to chat with the students where he addressed funding, the stimulus package and the cuts that will be made in the budget.

In attendance were current Associated Student Government President Kristen Bowman, in-coming president Jason Ziegler and various senators from student government.

Students from Ohio University, Central, University of Toledo and Bowling Green State were also in attendance for the days activities.