Hundreds showed up to demand action, and many more are contacting their lawmakers by email and phone to ask for their support.
Hundreds of students, educators, parents, and community members demanded action on the Cherish Act to fund our public colleges and get started on the road back to fully-funded, debt-free public higher education in Massachusetts.
We can’t afford to be sending Massachusetts public school students off of an ‘education cliff’ when they go to our public colleges. Selena Garcia Rodriguez, a PHENOM organizer for our Holyoke chapter, said it best in MassLive.
She called the K-12 funding law “an amazing win for education justice,” but added “this puts me in an awkward position, because the way I see it, my education is only important to the state of Massachusetts until I walk across the stage and get my diploma this June. I’m just all on my own, and when that large bill comes in August, that’s on me.”
Students are facing homelessness and hunger, adjuncts are working at six campuses a week and still don’t have access to health care, buildings and facilities are crumbling, and massive student debt is forcing students to drop out and weighing down millions of families across Massachusetts.
“We have the opportunity to make Massachusetts public higher education as great as Massachusetts private higher education we just need the funds and the support from the legislature to do that,” Jennie Rebecca Falcetta told WWLP-22News.
What is Advocacy Day?
Advocacy Day is an annual event where supporters of our public colleges and universities head to the State House to share their stories about high tuition and fee costs, struggling to piece together an income as an adjunct professor, the burdens of student debt on their families and the other challenges we all face because of the high cost of public higher education.
We also share the essential story of education. The story of how we build communities, how we teach future generations, and how we join together to learn about the world. We write that story every day at our community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses.
Your Story is Important
Are your student tuition and fees too high? Do you and your family struggle to afford college? Are you worried about how student debt will affect the future for you and your children? Are you an adjunct faculty member working for low pay and no health insurance? Are you a staff person who has seen their pay erode? Are you concerned that the yearly budget cuts by the state are hurting the education we provide to students?
Your story is important. And legislators want to hear it.
On Beacon Hill, just 10 phone calls can make a difference and get legislation supported and passed. We are showing up in force at the State House on March 5th to share our stories and be the difference. Legislators want to hear from students and working families in their district, and hearing from you could get them to support a vision of high-quality, debt-free public higher education that is affordable for students and treats campus workers with dignity and respect.
So start thinking about the story you want to tell, and we will be working with you to perfect that story as we lead up to the event.
What Are We Demanding?
For years, students, workers, and activists have made it clear that funding cuts to public colleges are driving up tuition and fees, increasing student debt, forcing cuts to essential programs, and keeping workers underpaid and overworked. We know we need to Fund Our Future to stop the cuts through the Cherish Act and that we need to guarantee a Debt Free Future to every person in Massachusetts.
Please watch this year’s training video.
When and Where?
Advocacy Day is on Monday, March 2nd, 2020 and starts at the Massachusetts State House at 10 a.m. There are events in the Great Hall of Flags from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will also be supporting on-campus events for people who cannot make it to the State House on March 2nd.
9:30 AM to 10:45 AM — Registration
10:45 AM to 11:15 AM — Speaking Program
11:15 AM to 11:30 AM — Mock Legislative Meeting
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM — Visit with Your Legislators
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM — Closing Speakers and Lunch in the Great Hall
Transportation and Food
There will be transportation from the campuses, and we will have lunch ready for you at the State House after you visit with your legislators.
Public Higher Education Advocacy Day is hosted by the Public Higher Education Summit Group and sponsored by the following organizations.
PHENOM (Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts)
Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance
Center for Education Policy and Advocacy (CEPA) at UMass Amherst
Massachusetts Teachers Association
State Universities Council of Presidents
Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office
UMass President’s Office