Story by TV20's Crispin Lopez
Hundreds gathered at the Plaza of the Americas, rallying to avoid becoming the latest victims of this economic crisis.
"Speaking out for one group you can make a difference, but combining all of our voices that's when you're going to make the strongest point," said Kristy Lewandowski of Communication Sciences and Disorders. "I think that these are priceless events that we all need to come together and do."
About a dozen people spoke at the event. Those who didn't speak let their signs and banners do the talking. Some displaying phone numbers for state representatives, senators, even university president Bernie Machen. There was also a giant petition addressed to Governor Crist.
"We're not saying give us more money, we're not saying you need to 50 million more dollars in UF," said Bret Seferian of Graduate Assistants United. "You can't cut us anymore because it will be too damaging. It will hurt this institution for years if you do."
Last week departments had to submit budget proposals for a "worse case scenario" of 10 percent cuts. While the extent of cuts will remain unknown for several weeks, rally participants see no harm in repeating their objective until a final decision is announced.
"The message is please maintain funding for higher education, because education cuts do not heal," said associate professor Paul Ortiz. "Maintaining a quality educational system on all levels is the best way out of a recession."
University officials say a list of all department budget proposals will be posted online on or around April 16th. A full budget will not be available until early May.
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