The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Chronicle’s View: This could be our year

The needs of higher education in this state do not drastically change year to year. Each year, each university goes through the ritual of making its plea before the Legislature.

This year, most of what these schools will request will sound much like what they requested last year.

This is certainly true of the U. The U needs money for renovating the library to make it earthquake safe. It needs to be compensated for enrollment growth. It needs money to pay gas and electric bills. Engineering and nursing initiatives will want funding.

As Utah’s schools make their pleas, a checklist of needs is formed. Each year some of the needs at the top of the list are checked off and other needs move to the top of the list the following year.

That means good things for the U. Many of the U’s needs were ranked as high priority, but not number one. This year, the library is ranked number one.

The Legislature has a good habit of taking care of top priority needs, especially those that have been on a long waiting list, like the U’s library.

There are other things different about this year that give reason to hope, like a new president.

Believing that legislative negotiations will be drastically different with President Michael Young may be a little nave, but new faces mean new attitudes and potential for change.

There will also be new faces among the legislators. Many leadership positions have changed, including the chairperson of the higher education appropriations subcommittee.

Last year U students showed their willingness to get involved in the political process by calling their representatives about the library. This year, student ambassadors will be used instead.

Hopefully carrying the same power as mass calls, but in a more delicate way, these ambassadors might prove to be like a velvet hammer knocking on the subcommittee’s door. This is not to say students shouldn’t call, but it would mean more if they called on their own.

But change happens slowly in Utah. While some things are different about this year, much is the same. And that’s not good for the U. The year 2004 was incredibly disappointing in regards to legislative funding.

That means it’s incredibly important for U students, faculty and employees to follow news about funding for the U. If the U community pays attention to this year’s differences, it will be better able to lobby our legislators. The calls and letters will mean even more.

If this year proves to be another disappointment, the U community will be educated voters next year and in the next election.

Keep up with local news on how President Young, the student ambassadors and the new legislators do pleading for the library, enrollment growth and other U needs. Keep your representatives informed on how you feel about this.

The U is a vital part of the state and deserves to be treated as such.

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