SGA goes to Higher Education Day, addresses Okla. Legislature

By Jerreck McWilliams, Contributing writer

SE student Echo Adcock addressed state legislators on the the potential merge of regional universities with OU and OSU, citing high graduation numbers as a reason to protect regional universities.

Courtesy Photo

SE student senators recently traveled to the state capital to speak with Oklahoma legislators for Higher Education Day.

Higher Ed Day is a day set aside by the state Congress once a year for students to voice their concerns directly to their lawmakers.

Many legislators were away from their offices in committee because of the recent debates over the concealed carry weapons legislation, leaving few representatives and senators available to visit.

Because of this, most of the student senators who attended had mixed opinions.

“It was definitely worth our time,” said Student Senator Matthew Sitton.  “Was it effective?  That’s hard to say, but the opportunity to interact with our state legislators was invaluable.”

Conversations with congressmen such as Rep. Paul Roan appeared to give a boost of confidence to the student senators that their trip was fruitful. Student Senator Nicholas McBrayer noted that it was “completely worth it.”

The issue of weapons on campus was only one of many issues being addressed by visiting students and staff, however.

Another significant concern of the regional universities has been the desire to avoid consolidation with OU and OSU.

This merger would convert some regional universities into branch campuses and possibly shut down others, while also opening new campuses in locations such as Ardmore.

This issue, along with the desire for the state universities’ budgets to be managed by the RUSO board and not the state Legislature, was addressed on the floor of the House of Representatives by SE student Echo Adcock as well as two students from OCU and UCO.

Adcock’s address to the state legislators and university students gathered at the Capitol urged the Oklahoma Congress to protect its regional universities, citing the fact that they are responsible for producing more graduating students per year than both OU and OSU combined.