Excerpted from the 2015 Spring Newsletter
PHENOM works with a “Who’s Who” of important players in state government to keep public higher education in view.
The JOINT COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION is an official committee of the State Legislature, with members from both the House and the Senate. Currently chaired by Rep. Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland) and Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury), it proposes and reviews legislation, holds hearings, and makes recommendations to the Legislature on all bills related to higher education (see article on page 2).
The PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION CAUCUS is not an official body but consists of legislators who have made public higher education a priority in their work. Currently chaired by Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Sen. Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell), the Caucus has worked closely with PHENOM in hosting speakers, advocating for increased funding and other bills, arranging tours of campuses for legislators, and disseminating information to legislators.
The HIGHER EDUCATION SUMMIT, was convened by PHENOM in 2011 and has grown to include representatives from the administrations of the Community Colleges, the State Universities, and the UMass system. The public higher education unions participate, along with student groups, community organizations, and legislative allies. This group meets monthly at the State House, and unites advocates around a common agenda. While member groups may have additional concerns of their own, unity around issues related to campus funding, financial aid, and building funds has led to important victories—starting with the allocation of a portion of gaming revenue to higher education, and more recently including fee freezes and increased funding through the 50/50 plan.
All three groups will play important roles the budget process