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HARRISBURG – At least 15 busloads of students from Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities will descend on the Capitol Monday morning, as a rally to protest possible severe budget cuts to the institutions is being staged. “United We Stand, Underfunded We Fail,” is the rally theme. The idea for the event was first launched by James Thren – a Shippensburg University student. APSCUF, the association representing the 6,000 faculty members and coaches at the 14 PASSHE universities, then provided organizational assistance for the event, which is part of an ongoing effort to prevent Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed 54 percent cut to the universities.

The event will feature many speakers – students, faculty members and legislators. Adding to the excitement of the event will be that members of the cross country and track programs at Lock Haven and Millersville universities will actually run a relay to the rally from their respective campuses. Lock Haven’s team was the first to announce the run to the Capitol steps, and Lock Haven Coach Aaron Russell reports that approximately 80 runners from the two schools will be participating.

In addition to the team members, at least one faculty member and several alumni will be joining the Lock Haven group. The runners will be broken up into several relay groups, with each person covering 5-12 miles. LHU has dubbed its effort, “the 100 to Stay Funded,” signifying the 100-mile journey from Lock Haven to Harrisburg. Following a campus rally, the LHU team will begin its run on campus Sunday night at 8:30 p.m., and run through the night to get to City Island Monday morning. After being greeted by PASSHE officials on City Island, the runners will finish the trek to the Capitol steps.

“The loss of state funds contained in Governor Corbett’s budget would have a crushing impact on thousands of Pennsylvania’s working class families,” State APSCUF President Steve Hicks said. “There is a lot of excitement building for this event, and we stand united with our students in opposition to these crippling cuts. I encourage everyone to visit, call, or write the members of the General Assembly regarding this issue,” Hicks added.

Tentative Speaker List: