SALEM — As lawmakers gear up for a hearing on bills that would make new state investments in public higher education, faculty at Salem State University will be engaging students on the issue of university funding.
Organizations and offices at Salem State, including the school president's office, the Salem chapter of the Massachusetts State College Association, the Student Government Association, and The Women's Center and Center For Civic Engagement, plan a "teach-in" titled "Facing the Crisis in Public Higher Education."
The discussion will take place from April 16 through 22. During the week, faculty members will devote class time to a presentation and discussion with students, administrators, staff and trustees about public higher education funding.
“Our public higher education institutions in Massachusetts are the gateway to upward mobility,” said Daniel Mulcare, a professor of political science as Salem State University who has played an active role in organizing the teach-in. “In order to offer equal opportunity, this public good must be available to all.
Salem State officials say the talks will cover "public higher education costs in Massachusetts, what this means for students, the benefits of public funding, and current legislation, including the CHERISH Act."
The so-called CHERISH Act, filed by Rep. Sean Garballey and Sen. Jo Comerford, is among a dozen bills the Higher Education Committee has scheduled for an April 30 hearing. The bill (H 1214/S 741) calls for $500 million in additional public higher education funding and would freeze tuition and fees for five years, provided that lawmakers appropriate sufficient money to meet targets spelled out in the bill.
"At Salem State, we value having an active, civically engaged campus community. I am proud that my office is joining others on campus to take part in discussions on this important issue," Salem State President John Keenan, a former state representative, said in a statement. "We especially look forward to hearing from our students, and we welcome all viewpoints as we delve into a topic that affects students, families, and communities throughout Massachusetts."