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From left, EOU student Jennifer Zerba, ASEOU Senator Micah Troutman and ASEOU President Sidronio Rangel at the state budget hearing in Hermiston February 17.
HERMISTON, Ore. February 23, 2017 – Eastern Oregon University students and staff attending a budget “roadshow” hearing in Hermiston Friday provided testimony on the importance of higher education in the state, and EOU’s unique role and successes.
The hearing is one of many being held around the state this month with the Oregon Joint Committee on Ways and Means. Increasing funding for higher education during the 2017-2019 biennium was the overarching message emphasized by those from EOU who provided personal testimony.
One of the students at the hearing, Carlin Sacco, received a round of applause when she shared her experiences with housing insecurity prior to enrolling in courses at Blue Mountain Community College and later transferring to EOU’s online programs.
“As a nontraditional college student, school has been an incredible opportunity for me,” Sacco told the committee. “I do not believe that it is our responsibility to assure that we see equal outcomes in life, but I do believe in equal opportunity; that you can come back from the darkest depths of humanity if you work hard, and you can make a better future. That’s the American dream, and I’m chasing it for myself at our schools.”
Another student, ASEOU Student Government President Sidronio Rangel, talked about the sacrifices made by his parents after immigrating from Mexico to the U.S.
“Higher education is fundamental to my success,” Rangel said. “I want to make sure future generations have that same opportunity – the opportunity to learn and expand on their dreams of garnering a degree and continuing to do great things.”
Rangel concluded his testimony with an earnest and direct request of the committee members.
“I ask you, will you support funding universities at $765 million and community colleges at $636 million; a level that keeps tuition increases below 5 percent so that we don’t see double digits increases in higher education [tuition], and so we don’t see students struggling through college?”
Several students and staff members also attended the hearing, waving signs and showing their support for higher education funding.
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