Representatives of KSU travel to Columbus Wednesday for “show-and-tell”

Britni Williams

Faculty, students and administrators will be taking a trip to the statehouse Wednesday to show off the university to legislators and help them understand the necessity of keeping the cost of attending affordable.

Iris Harvey, vice president for university relations, said the university recognizes that there will probably be a budget cut.

“We don’t have a lot of ways of making that up, and so we want to make sure that they (legislators) understand that the best way that we can make that up is to really be able to operate with practices that have been proven in business,” Harvey said.

She said she wants to work with the state government to figure out ways to offset the budget cuts, such as lowering operating costs, raising revenue by attracting more students and pricing the tuition accordingly.

“We don’t expect the release of the budget on March 15 to overshadow our presence,” Harvey wrote in an e-mail. “It will make the conversations more meaningful and pointed. Further, our goal in going to the statehouse is not to rally, but to engage with the legislators who represent our campuses, our students, faculty and staff.”

Provost Robert Frank said it is traditional to go to Columbus at least once a year for a “show-and-tell” about Kent State.

“It’s a time we try and educate legislators and people that are associated with the agencies about what Kent’s doing and what our dreams and ambitions are for the university,” Frank said.

Justin Pierce, executive director of Undergraduate Student Government, said he is excited to go to Columbus and representing Kent State.

“Administrators are getting paid to represent,” Pierce said. “When students go to represent, it sends a stronger message: We’re here. They need to serve us.”

Harvey said many legislators are new in their current positions and might not know as much about Kent State as she would like them to.

“I really want us to show our blue and gold — for them to recognize how proud we are of our accomplishments and for them to understand all our accomplishments and to understand that we are a great resource,” Harvey said.

She said they would put up an exhibit in an area of the statehouse that will get good foot traffic but will not be a public access area. Both the house and senate have sessions that afternoon and will be around to see the display. The College of Nursing, the College of Communication and Information, the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, the College of Technology, the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising and the horticulture program will all have displays in the exhibit. Regional campuses and the Centennial Research Park will also be represented.

“The critical goal is for them to understand how indispensable we are,” Harvey said. “We’ll be unshameful in sharing our statistics.”

Harvey said she wants the legislators to view Kent State as an asset and has scheduled delegations to have face-to-face meetings with legislators.

“We want them to think of us,” Harvey said. “We have great faculty who are wonderful experts in areas.”

Harvey said she’d like to see legislators use Kent State as a resource. She wants legislators to think, “‘We should be calling the College of Public Health because we have these issues related to public health.’”

Contact Britni Williams at [email protected].