Community College Students Spontaneously Chant “No BRFA” as Advocacy Day Rally Concludes

College of Southern Maryland students were among the hundreds of community college students advocating with their elected officials Feb. 4 for greater state support.

14 College of Southern Maryland Students Meet with Southern Maryland Delegation Members During Annual Advocacy Day Event

Students representing Maryland’s 16 community colleges rallied in Annapolis Feb. 4 as part of the Maryland Association of Community College’s Student Advocacy Day.

Community college students and presidents from around the state rallied in Annapolis on Feb. 4 before meeting with elected representatives to advocate for more robust state fiscal support of Maryland’s community colleges. The enthusiastic group of about 300 students, including 14 representatives from the College of Southern Maryland, came ready to both thank legislators for previous support, and to discuss their grievances related to the harmful effects anticipated from Governor Larry Hogan’s 2020 BRFA (Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act) legislation, SB 192/HB 152.

“The BRFA would cut our community colleges’ annual increase by 50 percent, and that’s on top of a series of cuts over the recent economic recession,” said Dr. Bernie Sadusky, executive director of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC). “We can understand funding cuts during bad economic times, but why this year? This year the state’s economic vitality doesn’t warrant it. The BRFA would also change our funding formula and make some forms of state support discretionary. It’s very problematic.” A recent editorial in The Baltimore Sun addressed the issue in detail.

 

 

Among College of Southern Maryland’s student advocates Feb. 4 were, front row from left, Elaina Sherwood, Angela Sherwood, Llana Coloma and Dylan Parham, and rear from left, Felicia McVey and Hayley Jesses.

Senators and delegates who attended the morning rally greeted students while sharing stories of their own experiences at community college. Legislators who addressed the students included Senators Mary Beth Carozza (Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester), Delores Kelley (Baltimore County), Katherine Klausmeier (Baltimore County), Cory McCray (Baltimore City), and Delegates Kevin Hornberger (Cecil) and Ken Kerr (Frederick).

Among CSM’s student representatives attending and meeting with members of the Southern Maryland Delegation were Maryland Promise Scholarship recipient Llana Coloma, CSM 2020 Alum Shekera Grayson and Logan Steele as well as La Plata Student Association members Sydney Mitchell and Dylan Parham, Leonardtown Student Association members Morgan Hall, Angela Sherwood and Elaina Sherwood, and Prince Frederick Student Association members Hayley Jesses, Gracie Knudson, Felicia McVey, Joan Popoopla, George Southworth IV and Sofia Walker.

Prince Frederick Student Association member George Southworth IV, right, presents Maryland Delegate Brian Crosby with CSM’s commemorative veteran coin to thank Crosby for his military service.

During conversations with the elected members of the Southern Maryland Delegation and members of their staff, CSM students discussed their support for strong state funding to keep community college tuition affordable, transfer initiatives to impove community college student transfers to four-year colleges, the Community College Promise Program, funding support services for students with disabilities and for open educational resources.

The students also heard from Morgan Barton, a single mother and part-time student seeking an associate degree in early childhood education at Carroll Community College. Barton was introduced by college president, Dr. James Ball, who applauded her many leadership, mentoring and community service activities. During her remarks, Barton said, “Maryland community colleges open a door to higher education, not just for current high school graduates, but for everyone.”

For photos of the event, visit https://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/20sad

About Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC)

Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) is an advocate for the state’s 16 community colleges and the educational needs of the almost 400,000 students they serve. Student Advocacy Day is organized by MACC to provide students with direct access to their legislators. For more information about MACC and Maryland’s community colleges, visit www.mdacc.org or call (410) 974-8117.

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