In 1970 the free speech and anti-war activist Abbie Hoffman stood on stage at UNH's Lundholm gymnasium before an audience of about 4,500 UNH students with an additional 3,000 outside listening to the sound being projected through speakers. On that May evening Hoffman said "What has taken you so long? Dinosaurs have been running this fuckin' state for too Goddamn long... bunch of dinosaurs make all the political decisions in this state. A bunch of senile dinosaurs make all the educational decisions, all economic decisions. How come you haven't buried the fuckin' dinosaurs yourselves?"
Sadly, over 40 years later Hoffman's statement is still dead on. New Hampshire, primarily the state senate is made up of too many people focused on immediate action and not the long term consequences. Earlier this week the New Hampshire state senate passed a 50% cut to funding for the University System of NH, which is an additional $3 million to what UNH expected to be the worst-case scenario. New Hampshire is already 50 out of 50 for state funding for state universities and that is before the cuts!
On Twitter President Huddleston had this to say (to TNH Executive Editor @ChadGraff) "Budget is looking bad. Fight not over yet, though. Still time for people to contact their state reps to press case for UNH."
On top of these budget cuts, the timing only makes it worse. UNH is in dire need of construction and building improvements. The faculty wants raises and we're still many millions short on the new business school project.
Here's my take on this whole situation. It sucks. Real bad. I'm now a senior and it probably won't affect me too much, if at all. But as a life long NH resident I know this is not good for the state. As I said on Twitter, UNH does more for New Hampshire than any state representative ever will. They are a bunch of money grubbing whores.
Currently, around 60% of UNH's enrollment are New Hampshire natives, which would probably be higher, but since out of state tuition is higher than instate, more non-NH students have been accepted recently.
From the previously linked article: "College students at schools in the University System of New Hampshire face almost certain tuition hikes after the committee not only left in place deep cuts made by the House but took another $3 million in aid designated for the system." If tuition continues to rise, and UNH is already one of the higher costing state universities in the country, you can probably expect more students to look elsewhere for college.
Over 44,000 of New Hampshire's population are UNH graduates. More and more UNH students are graduating every year in search of jobs, many right here in this state. The better education and opportunities these students receive at UNH, more accomplished workers and professionals will be entering the New Hampshire work force. Do you want to better our state? Then help better our education system. Personally, it seems pretty simple, but our good ole' senate is too focused on budget cuts to realize what it could do for our future.
You want to cut the budget and cut taxes? Sounds great! But wait... then who will pay for public education? Who will pay for our libraries, hospitals and to pave our roads and repair our bridges? Any ideas?
This is something that UNH students and NH residents should care about and be very concerned about. New Hampshire was recently named the most "livable state" for the 6th year in a row. With the direction of our state's government, I don't see that streak lasting too much longer. The future of UNH is kind of frightening, President Huddleston's "2020 Plan" is looking more and more bleak and this might be the one thing that makes me happy I only have a year left here.
Stay classy, not UMassy.