South Carolina state schools, like those in many states, are now facing dramatic cuts. The most recent General Assembly budget axed $113 million from higher education. And so campus student leaders decided to host a rally. Students would go to the state house and fight for their rights to receive an affordable education. It turned out to be a little pathetic.

According to a piece by Kathryn Kranjc in the University of South Carolina newspaper, the Daily Gamecock:

Only four University of South Carolina student government representatives were present at the rally — [Ebbie] Yazdani, President pro tempore John Cuenin, Director of Student Lobby Charlotte Harrell and Communications Director Megan Ananian — in addition to a smattering of involved USC students. Twelve students from Clemson and 11 from College of Charleston also attended. According to Harrell, SG has been coordinating the lobby since November, and while the rally’s Facebook page gained 302 attendees, little over 30 [almost 20 percent of whom appear in the image at right] turned up on the Statehouse steps by 10 a.m. Second-year chemical engineering student Peter Rassolov, who came out to show his support for fellow USC tuition-payers, wasn’t surprised by the outcome.

“It would look better if we had more students behind us, but we’re still sending the same message,” Ananian said.

Well no, no you’re not. If hundreds of South Carolina students came to the state house, the message to legislators would be that the funding cuts are a matter of serious concern to students and they might not be able to attend school (or willing to vote for you in the next election) if the cuts go through.

If, however, 30 people come to the event, the message is that the cuts are not serious. If the only people who show up at the event are closely connected to student government, that indicates that concern about state funds is maybe not so important. It’s either a phony political issue or students are just apathetic and lazy. [Image via]

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