Student political groups react to lack of higher education in State of the State address


Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder gives the annual State of the State address at the Capitol in Lansing on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

LANSING — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder lauded the recent boom in Detroit, crediting a solid educational base as the main cause of the Motor City's recent ascension from bankruptcy. 

Snyder suggested the state should prioritize the needs of Detroit's struggling public school system. He said Detroit has become a place to "innovate and excite" for young professionals.

While he dedicated a significant portion of his address to the ongoing Flint water crisis, the Governor did not mention any plans to increase funding to higher education or make college more affordable for students in the state. 

At Central Michigan University, politically-concerned students are weighing in.

"Governor Snyder did say he was going to make it an unusual State of the State," said Tommy Berry, Vice President of the College Democrats at CMU. "Despite this, we feel there needs to be an independent investigation into what is going on (in Flint)." 

Snyder said Tuesday his office will release all e-mails send during 2014-15 regarding the Flint water crisis. During the speech, his representatives provided to the public a detailed timeline of how the water in Flint became contaminated with dangerous amounts of lead.

"We would like to hear more about education," Berry said. "All across the country students are very concerned about that. Governor Snyder has made it tougher on our teachers and our students." 

Michigan recently received a grade of "F" for public support of higher education from the advocacy group Young Invincibles. Tuition dollars are responsible for more of CMU's budget than ever before and an increase in spending at public universities exacerbates funding issues.

"I don’t think (not mentioning higher education) says anything about the priorities at all, I think there were a lot of areas and priorities that were not mentioned," said Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter. "The governor needed to, and thankfully did, spend a lot of time talking about the City of Flint as well as Detroit Public Schools."

Brandon Wright is the Vice Chairman of the CMU College Republicans said Snyder's speech was fundamentally sound and emotionally heartfelt. 

"He seemed like he really felt the state let down the people of Flint," Wright said. "There is nothing more to say. The government failed the people and that's not good." 

Funding for higher education needs to take a backseat to the Flint crisis, Wright said. 

"It makes sense he was focusing mainly on (Flint water and Detroit schools)," Wright said. "My main focus is economic issues."

While Snyder's legacy as Michigan's governor is still up for debate, the value of the democratic process is not for Wright. 

"People need to get involved in this political process because it is the only way that your voice can be heard," he said. "It's either that or sit in silence and be ignored."


About Dominick Mastrangelo

Dominick Mastrangelo is the Editor in Chief of Central Michigan Life. Contact him at: 


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