UNO Takes Action on Budget Cuts
By Stephannie Zambrano, News Director
“Were taking all the help we can get. If you’d like to help to go and talk to classrooms, I’d be more than happy to give you some materials and make sure that students are armed with the correct information,” UNO’s Student Body President Carlo Eby said. On February 14, 2018, the 2-percent budget cut that was proposed by Gov. Pete Ricketts will be on the floor for a vote.
“Were just going to make sure that if students want to get their letters down their or just want anything to get down to their senators that were going to give them the tools to do that,” Eby said. The bill would affect the University of Nebraska Omaha, Kearney, and Lincoln, starting June 2018 if the proposed bill passes. Eby has proposed ideas on how students can share their stories weeks before and during the hearing. “So, in my ideal world and I know president Bounds ideal world is to just absolutely flood the capitol with students from the University of Nebraska. Whether that’s Lincoln students,
Omaha students, or even just allies in the communities,” Eby said.
On Monday, Eby will conduct a Facebook live event on what the upcoming steps will be so students can get involved. They will also have an event on Wednesday, January 31, in the Milo Bail Student Center where students can learn more and write to their senators about whether they are for or against the budget cut. “Well have paper, we’ll have pens, we’ll have envelopes their and we’ll give you all the necessary tools to have a letter written if you’d like to contact your representative. We’ll be doing that in the next couple weeks,” Eby said.
If students don’t know how to write a letter, Student Government will offer talking points. “They don’t need to hear percentages, they don’t need to hear statistics, what they need to hear is your story as to why you’re here. What does education mean to you? What does this opportunity mean to you? That’s what we really want to convey to our state senators and our legislatures down in Lincoln,” Eby said. Student Government is also looking for students to go to the Nebraska Legislature on Feb. 14, to speak to their local representatives and talk to them on whether they wish to support or not support the proposed budget cut bill. Eby met with Ricketts and shared not only his story but other UNO students and faculties concerns. “He doesn’t get to interact with students every day. So, I said, ‘Governor Ricketts here’s what students are concerned about in regards to these budget cuts. Their concerned about their tuition potentially going up, their concerned about whether their majors might still be here. Their concerned on whether or not they can afford to stay in the state and maybe they have to go to a different state to work or whether they’ll be a job for them when they graduate here,'” Eby said.
If the budget concerns aren’t addressed, Eby said there’s little room for optimism. “To be completely forward and completely honest, there’s really no chance of coming out of this with more money or no money being lost. But that’s the case for everybody. The state patrol are doing this. People in every department and across the state are seeing budget reductions and their all having conversations like we are. So, they are all kind of preparing and if it happens to come out better, great but even better is worse,” Eby said.
Kriztina Montero Salgado, a Senior at UNO who is double majoring, and is part of the Creative Writing Program, also an English Major, works at the UNO Criss Library and takes part in the Election Committee at UNO says this topic is important to talk about with students. “UNO is exceptionally known for being the more affordable option between Lincoln and Omaha and for those kids that are on scholarship here that aren’t privately funded, who knows what’s going to happen to them if their major gets cut. I don’t think the solution is to just force them into another university that might not even be an option for those kids, they would just be left high and dry,” said Salgado.
Salgado said it’s something students shouldn’t stay quiet about and is asking everyone to share the information of what is going on now on social media. Salgado has a scholarship but she is still worried. “If my major were to get cut or you know my scholarship, God forbid were to get cut then I wouldn’t be able to attend the University next year. Or go to grad school because I wouldn’t be able to afford it unless you know I still get a financial aid which is you know how much that would be next year,” Salgado said.
Salgado said it does not just affect her but also the students who are paying out of pocket. “For that 1,200-dollar increase on tuition, to fix that gap or whatever between the tax cuts, I don’t think that’s fair either,” Salgado said.
For more information on the proposed budget cut bill and how you can get involved, contact Student Government at firstname.lastname@example.org