Thousands rally for higher education

 Boston Common came alive with drums, chants and rousing rhetoric as 5,000 public higher education advocates rallied in front of the State House, April 29, to demand that the legislature "Stand Up for Public Higher Education."

The rally was sponsored by Higher Ed Unions United, a coalition which supports adequate funding for public campuses and funding of the higher education contracts still outstanding. Coalition members include MTA, AFSCME, IBPO, NAGE, MFT, SEIU 254, SEIU285, SEIU 509, Teamsters Local 25 and the United Auto Workers.

Speakers at the rally included college presidents and student and union leaders.

Speaking as president of the University Staff Association, Donna Johnson [below]  exhorted legislators to "do your job and support public higher education" -- a chant that was taken up by the crowd.

After the two-hour rally, many participants went to the State House to lobby their legislators. A hearing on the governor's higher education reorganization plan was held in the afternoon by the Joint Committee on Education.