More than 100 students rallied at the state Capitol on Feb. 8, to ask state lawmakers for additional funds aimed at supporting college students with disabilities. Students from across New York first joined together at the well of The Legislative Office Building in Albany to organize before marching to the Capitol to join supportive legislators.
Photos, above, by Ashley Clareen and Alexander Thomas, Legislative Gazette
The room was filled with the vibrant energy of students and faculty members of different colleges such as Syracuse University, SUNY Morrisville, Hudson Valley Community College and Delhi State University among others.
The people present were pushing for a full $15 million to be funded from the state budget to help students with disabilities in higher education. The money would be used for funding quality faculty training, improved mental health care services as well as building new and improved infrastructure, equipment and facilities for the students and anything else that is required, needed or wanted by the organizations.
“You should not have to come to the state capital to beg and plead for money that you deserve!” – Sen. Andrew Gounardes
The organizations are grateful to have received a generous $2 million each year for two years but are now pushing for the extra $13 million.
Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein joined the students to show their support. The schools and government officials then proceeded to the million dollar staircase to continue their protests and speeches. Various chants were heard such as: “ACCESS! WE WANT ACCESS! EDUCATION IS A RIGHT! FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! WHAT DO WE WANT? 15 MILLION!”
“Although $2 million is a great start,” said Sen. John W. Mannion, Chair of Committee on Disabilities, “it is not enough!”