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LSU faculty holds Jazz Funeral for higher education

POSTED: Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 9:30am

UPDATED: Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 5:36pm

BATON ROUGE, La (WVLA) -- College students across the country gathered to speak out against cuts to higher education today. At LSU, students and faculty joined in the best way they know how...with a party.

Student and faculty organized a jazz funeral for higher education this afternoon to mourn the loss of several degree programs and foreign language teachers at the flagship university.

"When we celebrate, we celebrate together," says linguistics professor Mary Brody. "When we mourn, we mourn together."

LSU is certainly in mourning. With 65 million dollars in cuts on the horizon, students and teachers are worried.

"Just to have that hanging over you, and really, being nervous takes away from your studies," says John Mann, a drummer in today's jazz band.

That's why students have started to take action. Just weeks ago, a small group formed an organization to battle budget cuts and save their teachers. They call it Proud Students. Those students decided to have a funeral.

"[The budget cuts are] going to affect everybody in the state," says organizer Claiborne Macknight. "Education is so important to our society and economy."

Macknight was happy with the turnout at today's protest. Hundreds were out on the parade grounds this afternoon to support the university and their professors.

"It made me so happy to see so many students that I know here, concerned, talking to people, expressing their concern," says Brody.

However, some students say the turnout should have been bigger. "I think as big a student body as we have, we should have had more," says junior William Sain.

Still, Sain says he can't complain. "At the same time I'm still very excited to this many people concerned about this."

Students say the fight is far from over. They'll bring their jazz funeral to the steps of the capitol on November 10th.

Learn more about what students are doing to stand up against budget cuts here.

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