Walkout Rally Draws Bigger Crowd, Misses Mark
Yesterday, Penn State saw another rally about Governor Corbett’s proposed budget cuts and high tuition. The Walkout for Penn State drew a bigger crowd than the previous two on campus, this time filling the terrace in front of Old Main rather than just the steps. Remember, “bigger” is only relatively speaking.
Many were confused as to the mixed signals that skipping class for the sake of being able to afford class sent, but the walkout went on as planned at noon. An array of students, faculty, and local residents gathered in front of Old Main with signs and a microphone, hoping to get their message sent through to Harrisburg.
Adam Smeltz of StateCollege.com, in this excellent piece, warned protesters before the event that their delivery would have a huge impact on how their message was heard (if at all) in Harrisburg. And, indeed, good news yesterday with State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, a Republican, said that higher education cuts would be scaled back. But was it because of the rally? It’s doubtful considering its overall tone.
The gathering got together some great speakers like Mayor Goreham and Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims. “Politics is about choices,” Sims said. “But it is the wrong choice to put cuts in education.” Sims exemplifies the firm but empathetic tone needed in this kind of situation.
Overall, however, the rally showed a character of a radical left-wing demonstration. Speakers like Chris Stevens, President of United Students Against Sweatshops, and State College Borough Council Member Peter Morris showed sentiments of believing in a capitalist conspiracy in which the political right is hell-bent on bankrupting the workers and families. Seriously, guys, workers and unions have no relevance in this conversation. The clear liberal bias shown by invoking those concepts severely weakened any chance of legitimacy the rally ever had.
On the other hand, Capital Day is today in Harrisburg. Students left at 7 a.m. to go to Harrisburg and speak with legislators about their concerns. The annual event, organized by the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments, has traditionally been successful. Rep. Turzai started us off with good news yesterday, so hopefully we’ll be able to make even more progress today.