(via WDSU) – Students at the University of New Orleans did their part on Thursday to help clean up what they believe is a broken funding system for higher education.
Before Hurricane Katrina, there were 87 members of the custodial staff at UNO. There are currently only 31 due to a combination of layoffs and positions that were never filled as people left or retired.
Students said they’re tired of the dirt, and they’re doing something about it.
“It means when we have trash in between classrooms, dust, even roaches, it becomes noticeable (and) very distracting,” said UNO Student Government President John Mineo. “To be honest, I don’t want to go to a classroom like that and sit down.”
Since 2009, UNO has lost $16 million in state support and 150 positions. The move has sparked protests schools across the state, like one at UNO in September, when what was supposed to be a peaceful rally turned violent.
Last week, hundreds of students from around the state rallied on the state capitol, and earlier this week at Louisiana State University, some questioned where the funding for higher education was going by throwing fake money with a picture of Gov. Bobby Jindal on it.
However, Thursday night was the first time that students literally cleaned up the mess they said state leaders have left behind by not prioritizing education.
About 50 students showed up at Thursday’s clean up at Milneberg Hall. They said they chose the building because it’s used for freshmen orientation, and they said dirty classrooms are an embarrassing way to introduce new students to the school.
Louisiana public colleges and universities have had about $300 million in budget cuts since 2008.