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UNI students at State Capitol to ask for support

March 3, 2003

Jeff Scudder, president, Northern Iowa Student Government, (319) 273-2650
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Students from the University of Northern Iowa will be in Des Moines Wednesday, March 5, for a news conference to hammer home the message that higher education is critical to Iowa's future. The news conference, a joint effort of the three state universities, begins at noon in Room 24 of the Capitol building.

Plans call for a student presence in the rotunda between the House and Senate chambers immediately following the news conference and continuing until 2:30 p.m. At 2 p.m., students will meet with Stephanie Pickens, the governor's higher education policy adviser.

'Iowa is sending the wrong message to its young people by not supporting public education at the level it should,' said Jeff Scudder, president of the Northern Iowa Student Government. 'The message is 'we don't value you,' when it should be 'we want you to be a part of our future.''

Scudder pointed to several trends that he says make higher education increasingly inaccessible to Iowa's youths. For instance, he said, Iowa has drastically cut support to its public universities, shifting the burden to students and their families. He also said student debt is increasing, and that reducing state support to public universities affects the source of the state's future economic strength.

'We want to be a part of Iowa's future, and our presence at the Capitol and the tone of the day are meant to underscore that reality,' Scudder said. 'We are engaged and stand ready to be a part of the solution. What remains to be seen is whether the state's leaders will make the appropriate investment to ensure that goal comes to fruition.'

NISG has organized a series of lobbying efforts for the spring semester. They include:

Friday, March 7, legislative forum at AEA-7 in Cedar Falls, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 29, legislative forum at AEA-7 in Cedar Falls, 10 a.m. to noon

Saturday, April 5, legislative forum at AEA-7 in Cedar Falls, 10 a.m. to noon