Students and university employees gathered on Western Kentucky University’s campus Thursday at a rally for higher education funding. The event was intended to bring attention to budget cuts, pension increases and faculty and staff reductions.
Governor Matt Bevin recently signed a new pension bill into law that will preserve most benefits for current and retired teachers but moves new hires into a hybrid plan that puts less risk on the state. Jeremy McFarland is a senior at WKU and was registering people to vote at the rally.
“I’m here to stand with students and teachers. I think it’s really shameful what Matt Bevin and GOP are doing in Kentucky to defund our education,” he said.
Bevin said the reforms are needed to save the pension plan from imploding. The governor also vetoed a two-year state budget that contained record levels of public education funding.
McFarland said he wants to help register people to vote because a lot of students don’t know that they can register to vote with their campus address. He said he wants to see legislators fund public education and provide teachers with more resources.
WKU freshman Fallon Russell is studying to become a teacher.
“We’re spending all our money now to have our money taken away from us later and it’s just not fair and as I heard from a professor yesterday, ‘bad policy does not deserve loyalty’,so I definitely think it’s important for us to stand up,” she said.
Fallon said the lives of Kentucky’s future generations will be impacted by decisions being made now by the governor and state lawmakers.