Students fear program cuts with state budget impasse

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin ordered 4.5 percent cuts in state funding to all public colleges and universities, effective now. This, as state lawmakers remain at odds over the state budget.

A spokesperson for Murray State University says they haven’t got an official notification on the cuts and, because of that, they’re not commenting yet.

However, University President Bob Davies is commenting on the budget impasse. He sent us a statement, which reads in part:

"With my numerous visits with legislators, I remain optimistic in the leadership of the General Assembly to reach a compromise between the two budgets and that we will be able to manage the outcome by remaining focused on the core values of our university and the long-term vision of being the best student-centered university in America."

It’s a scary topic for students right now. They don’t know which programs, if any, are going to be cut. Stephanie Smith, a senior at MSU, says she’s afraid her younger classmates won’t get the education they deserve.

"We’re here. We want to learn. We want to be involved in campus and campus life," says Smith. "I think we are all nervous on the inside that that opportunity will be taken away."

Those are opportunities Smith says are helping to prepare her for the world outside of the classroom. When lawmakers can’t agree on a budget, she says students are the ones who get punished.

"What are the long-term effects of that budget not passing and not being able to help students who are in obvious need?" says Smith.

It’s a concern that’s also reaching faculty.

"My big fear is that students who need funds to proceed into the summer, into the fall, will not have the money," says Dr. Brian Clardy. "Their dreams will be short circuited."

As a history professor at Murray State University, Dr. Brian Clardy understands how important higher education is to our high-tech, post-modern economy. He says universities are already operating on bare budgets,

"Who knows, a budget might not be agreed to at all," says Clardy. "If that happens, my personal view is the circumstances, the consequences of that are just too cataclysmic to contemplate."

"I want to see them succeed and have all the opportunities that I did as well," says Smith.

Smith says that can only happen if our state’s leaders can agree on a budget that funds education.

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