The Parthenon

Higher education forum discusses future funding

Alex James, Reporter

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For the second consecutive year, Marshall University hosted a forum for faculty, staff, students and members of the community to discuss the future of higher education funding in West Virginia.

Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates, including Matt Rohrbach, Kevin Craig, Bob Plymale and Sean Hornbuckle, were on hand to discuss academic issues with attendees.

Freshman Alex O’Donell said the legislators had a few good points when it comes to higher education.

“The people who came were off topic a little bit, but they still had good points on higher education,” O’Donnell said. “They said the things I expected them to say and had a good point on consolidation, and proposed some good ideas.”

Caitlin Grimes, senior chief of staff of the Student Government Association, said the diverse viewpoints our legislators are taking into consideration made an impression on her.

“I think the biggest impact that I took from the higher education forums was all of the different perspectives and directions our legislators are going to take in the upcoming session,” Grimes said. “What stood out most to me is that they are making higher education a priority this year since we are taking so many cuts. As an out-of-state student, my tuition has gone up the most—a few thousand dollars to be exact—which has made it more expensive to go here than in-state in my home state of North Carolina.”

Matt Rohrbach, delegate of the 17th District, said he thought the forum was very instructive for many people.

“I thought it was very informative for the audience, and I think it was informative for the members, to hear the concerns of the constituents that they are going to represent,” Rohrbach said. “I think the biggest thing to help higher education out is to remember an old adage: the rising tide will lift all boats. The higher education will only be as strong as the state budget. If we can grow the economy of this state, and increase the revenue of this state in whatever fashion we can, that’s how higher education will do well.”

Sean Hornbuckle, delegate of the 16th District, said he was impressed by the Marshall student body turnout for the forums.

“First off, I want to really applaud the students that were here,” Hornbuckle said. “It is very, in my experience, unusual to see so many be so passionate by asking questions. Part of the reason why I ran is because we have to have a movement of younger people being a part of the process to move our state forward. It is an absolute priority of mine that not only the school Marshall University prospers, but also the students.”

Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said the forum gave the audience a chance to express their views and various issues to the elected representatives,

“I think this was a wonderful exchange,” Kopp said. “It gave people in the audience an opportunity to ask our elected representatives their views on various issues that are important to Marshall University, the students, the staff and faculty. That’s why we have these forums. This was an open forum, an open discussion and an airing of important issues.”

Alex James can be contacted at [email protected] marshall.edu.

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