For Immediate Release, September 23, 2010
For more information, contact
Max Page, 413-219-7633
Alex Kulenovic, 617-291-5362
100 Mile Walk Across Massachusetts to Defend Public Higher Education
Students, faculty and alumni are walking from Pittsfield to Boston October 2nd to 7th to urge legislators to reverse the state’s disinvestment in public colleges and universities. The Walk kicks off at Berkshire Community College at 11 a.m. October 2, and ends with a rally at the State House in Boston on October 7, timed to be part of a National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. Politicians and others will join the walkers at numerous events along the way.
“As the state has withdrawn support, and enrollments have increased, colleges have been forced to choose among options such as recruiting more out of state students, shifting more teaching to underpaid part-timers, increasing student fees, and even contracting teaching to private companies,” said Ron Weisberger, faculty member at Bristol Community College. “This decreases access and hurts the state’s economy.”
After the rally, PHENOM supporters will bring legislators thousands of signatures on a statement For a Great State of Mind. This calls on Massachusetts to increase state support for higher education to the national average and decrease costs to students to the national average. PHENOM will ask every legislator to sign on to this statement. Currently, Massachusetts is 46th of the 50 states in per capita support, has cut funding more than any other state in the past five years, and has some of the highest student charges in the country.
“I am taking time out of my life to walk because this is so important to me and to so many people I know,” said Melissa Urban, a student at UMass Amherst. “A college degree is as important today as a high school diploma was 30 years ago. We have to make college affordable, accessible, and of the highest quality. I hope our walk will help convince legislators that our schools are facing a crisis.”