S.O.S. Project Take Two!

Sophomore Kelly French sat at the new Traditions Plaza in front of the bookstore on the Boca campus on Tuesday afternoon wondering if she would still be able to afford returning to school next fall. Not alone, nearly 50 other students did the same.

“I already work two jobs without help from my parents,” French said. “If tuition is increased, that means I’ll have to work more, which means I’ll be in class less.”

French, along with fellow students, administrators and staff, tuned in to part two of the Save our School Project. While the first part of the SOS Project was a rally that urged students to be aware of the budget cuts, senior Josef Palermo says that the second time around, the project wanted to keep students informed on how the current legislative session is going to help or hurt our education this coming fall. “The rally was a chance to give students a voice,” Palermo said. “This is an information session to give students an update.”

With legislators in Tallahassee voting on bills that decide the future of college students, local aides from those representatives came to the Boca campus to tell students what has been happening since they’ve entered the legislative session.

Sheldon Plotnick, an aide for Senator Jeremy Ring, reminded students that despite a six percent tuition increase set to take place in the fall semester, there is still an upside to paying tuition in Florida.

“Florida still has the lowest tuition [rates] in the United States,” Plotnick said. “Due to efforts of students at FAU and around Florida, Bright Futures will stay in tact.”

Democratic candidate Todd Maki, who if elected would represent district 87, which includes parts of Boca Raton, came to express to students that he cares if the legislation cuts college funding.

“We need to stop cutting education completely; fund it, fund it, fund it,” Maki said. “The way the legislation looks at education now shows that it’s not a top priority.”

While President Brogan couldn’t make it out to the rally nearly two months ago, he was present for Tuesday’s meeting, letting students know that some promises were kept while some corners were cut.

“We’re going to run a full summer school this year,” Brogan announced. “But students are likely to see slower service in places like admissions, registration and financial aid.”

Brogan also said that when new positions become available for hire, the university simply will not fill the position, which means FAU will have a 31:1 student-teacher ratio, up from the national average of 25:1.

“It means less one-on-one time with professors,” Brogan said. “We can’t eliminate the central service [of the academic budget], but we can minimize it.”

Despite the smaller turnout compared to the rally of nearly 300 attendees, student organizer Vicky Urrutia thought the information session was still a hit.

“It was successful because of the aides from the representatives,” Urrutia said, who passed out flyers in the Breezeway urging students to listen to the speakers. “It wasn’t as big as the rally because students are busy with finals.”

Currently, Urrutia said that there are no plans for another information session, but urged students to stay informed by going to the Official SOS Project blog.

Photos from Tuesday’s event.