Fifteen hundred students rallied yesterday afternoon at the State House in Boston to protest budget cuts in public higher education.
The Massachusetts Public Student Coalition organized the rally in response to Governor Michael S. Dukakis's proposal that public colleges reduce their budget by 10 per cent, Milton Kerstein, volunteer coordinator of the coalition, said yesterday.
Speakers at yesterday's rally included State Senator Jack Backman, (D. Brookline), and representatives of most Massachusetts state and community colleges.
In addition to budget reductions, Jones said, there will also be tuition increases in state and community colleges amounting to as much as $200 over the next two years.
It will probably be several weeks until the legislature passes a final budget and the exact amount of the cuts becomes certan, Jones said.
'Eat the Rich'
The speakers at the rally encouraged students to use political pressure to resist the budget cuts. The crowd responded with shouts of "eat the rich" and "they say cutback, we say fight back."
Kerstein said coalition members met yesterday with the speaker of the house and other members of the state legislature. He said he was hopeful some legislative action would result.
Donald C. Howard, associate dean of students at Southeastern Massachusetts University and an observer at the rally, said that proposed budget cuts will "destroy some of the most significant and effective programs," at a time when "there is a lot of fat in the state budget." Howard predicted the cuts would hurt minorities and disadvantaged students more than others.
Philip Martin, a Boston State College student, said he would not be able to continue his education now unless he gets federal aid. Martin also said that he felt the budget cut was "essentially racist" in nature.
After the rally ended officially, a group of about 200 people, led by the Revolutionary Student Brigade, picketed on the steps of the State House. Forty of these students entered the State House, chanted protests outside the governor's suite and after a few minutes voluntarily rejoined the pickets on the steps.
One block away at the intersection of Park Street and Tremont, 20 helmeted motorcycle patrolmen were stationed.
One policeman said, "It's just precautionary."