Public Higher Education Network of Massachuestts takes its message to the streets

Faculty members, staff, students and alumni organized by the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts recently took their fight for more state funding to the streets. Literally.

Beginning on Oct. 2, a small, dedicated group of higher ed supporters walked from Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield all the way to the Massachusetts State House in Boston to send the message to legislators that now is the time to reverse the state’s disinvestment in its public colleges, state universities and UMass.

“We made the decision to walk across the state because we wanted to do something that would really call attention to the serious funding problem and move us toward a dramatic reinvestment in our public colleges and universities,” said MTA Executive Committee member Max Page, a UMass professor who marched with the group. “Everyone should have access to high-quality, affordable public higher education.”

State funding for public higher education has been slashed by 36 percent during the last 10 years when adjusted for inflation. In addition, student enrollment has reached record highs at many of the public higher education institutions while the number of full-time faculty members has dropped.

The walkers spent six days on the road and made several stops at organized events along the way.