Students travel to Capitol to lobby budget cuts

Emily Banks

The ISU Ambassadors and Government of the Student Body will be traveling to the Iowa Capitol on Monday for Regents Day.

ISU students will team up with students from the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa in order to give students a voice in the Legislature.

Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, believes that students showing up to lobby is critical.

“It’s all about democracy, it’s the voice of the people. I’m looking forward to the students showing up,” Quirmbach said. “I need more than one voice, so we need to rally the troops.”

The Legislature currently wants to propose a 10 percent budget cut to the regent universities. This cut will be a 4 percent increase from Gov. Terry Branstad’s 6 percent cut — students going to the Capitol will be lobbying legislators to “Stop the Cuts” to education.

The budget cuts are “cutting deeply,” and the universities are starting to suffer from them, said Jessica Bruning, senior in political science and director of ISU Ambassadors.

“In order to make up for the cuts, the university would have to raise tuition almost 30 percent, so they are starting to cut funding from programs and groups,” Bruning said.

For students wishing to join the trip, registration can be found on the GSB website. Buses have been arranged to take students to Des Moines. The buses will leave at 10 a.m. Monday from the west side of the Memorial Union and will bring students back to Ames later that afternoon. Students are encouraged to wear ISU cardinal to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

“Seeing the ISU students in their red shirts is a very effective visual presence down here,” Quirmbach said.

A training session for students who haven’t lobbied before or don’t know what to expect will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday in Carver 268. ISU State Relations Officer Ann McCarthy, ISU President Gregory Geoffroy, members from ISU Ambassadors and a few local legislators will be available to answer any questions and give pointers on what should be done when lobbying. This is open to all students that want to participate.

The three schools are all hoping to have at least 100 students from each school participate in the lobbying.

“With how close we are to Des Moines, we’re hoping to have more than 100 people going; with all of the clubs participating, I think we will have at least that many,” Bruning said.

Many ISU clubs are going to help lobby against the budget cuts. Tables are being provided so that the clubs can display information and show legislators that the money being spent on these clubs isn’t being wasted.

Besides helping students fight the budget cuts, Quirmbach is also trying to propose a bill that would make textbooks tax-free. The bill will be proposed Wednesday, and he is hoping to see it passed.