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Campus cultural organizations may be impacted by rollback of funding

Some students are worried that funding for cultural organizations will take the brunt of these...
Some students are worried that funding for cultural organizations will take the brunt of these potential cuts.(Nick Nelson)
Published: May. 6, 2021 at 5:53 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Some members of the South Dakota State Legislature made efforts at the end of this year’s session to roll back funding for Board of Regents Schools, with cuts specifically targeting cultural diversity programs and organizations at the state’s universities.

At the end of this year’s legislative session, Representative Liz May, who serves on the appropriations committee, requested to slash $275,000 in general funds from South Dakota’s public colleges and universities. Now, some students are worried that funding for cultural organizations will take the brunt of these potential cuts.

May said that she’s not opposed to organizations dedicated to cultural studies and diversity -- but is concerned that they’re operating at the taxpayer’s expense.

“Taxpayers expect tax dollars to be going toward education, and education is reading, writing, and arithmetic, and then when you get to the college level you’re talking about calculus and all kinds of things like that,” May said.

May pulled her proposal before the end of the session and says she wants to look at the state of how South Dakota’s universities are being run to see if these cuts are still needed.

Juliana Neilsen is a former student body president at Black Hills State University. She said that cultural organizations are beneficial to the learning experience of students.

“People are able to start asking questions that maybe they haven’t known before, and just learning about different cultures and just getting to know different people and their backgrounds is really important,” Neilsen said. “It really just builds the community.”

May said that she’d be glad to meet with representatives of cultural organizations before the next session.

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