University Presidents Take Their Budget Case to the Internet

It's President’s Day, and Florida University presidents are working overtime to fight budget cuts. Florida State University President T.K. Wetherell is leading the charge with an email campaign. He set up a link on FSU’s Web site to help angry students and parents contact their lawmaker.

So many people want to express their outrage over the cuts, they crashed the system. Angry college students from throughout Florida descended on the capitol last week to demand restoration of $111-million in cuts to higher education.

Wetherell is trying to harness that anger with a Web site that lets you email your legislator. Many lawmakers pledged to make education a priority when they ran for office, and Wetherell wants them to keep that promise.

Wetherell says at least 600 emails were sent in the first two days, enough to overload the system.

But are lawmakers getting the message> The senate leadership has been threatening to pass Jeb bush's proposed budget the way it is, including $111 million in cuts to universities. But House leaders say there's no way that will happen. House Education Chair Bev Kilmer says even the governor doesn't want his higher education proposal to pass.

Kilmer downplayed the value of Wetherell's mass email campaign. Still, it's hard to ignore an inbox stuffed with messages from angry constituents.

Kilmer says her colleagues have located at least $60 million of funding and cost savings that could be shifted to help offset the higher education cuts.

To see the FSU email campaign, go to www.fsu.edu and click on FSU Speak Up at the bottom of the page.


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