Grieving as Theater

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Students at the University of Colorado at Boulder held a funeral for higher education yesterday. According to a Denver 9 News piece about the event:

We are gathered here today to mourn the death of something that is incredibly close to us all – our higher education,” said Hailee Koehler, director of legislative affairs for the University of Colorado’s student government.

Koehler says she is already in debt more than $50,000 in college costs and it will likely get worse. Colorado already ranks at the bottom, nationally, in funding higher education. The slow economy is forcing lawmakers to consider cutting funding even further.

Students are planning for a large protest at the state capitol on March 3. Koehler wants the state of overturn the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR, which essentially prevents the state legislature for raising taxes without a referendum.

Granted, Colorado has a low state allocation for higher education (just 3.9 percent of Colorado’s state budget went to higher education in 2007, the national average was 6.4 percent). But in-state tuition at the University of Colorado is still only $4,243 a year, which is actually not so bad.

Colorado students are maybe being a little melodramatic about this. Colorado is in the coma stage in terms of education funding. Nevada and maybe California are at this point really the only states where students can justify holding actual funerals for public higher education.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer