By Richard Barron
The Ada News
A group of East Central University students and faculty visited the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City Tuesday, hoping to make their voices heard as part of High Education Day.
“Your stories are the ones that will make the biggest difference to (your legislators),” Dr. Christine Pappas told the students as they waited for the arrival of Sen. Greg McCortney and Rep. Ronny Johns in the State Judicial Center’s Great Room.
“East Central University is here to represent the Regional University System of Oklahoma, and the impact we have on the state of Oklahoma,” ECU President Katricia Pierson said. “We believe the future of the state rests on quality higher education.”
The group was able to tour the Justice Center, accompanied by several Supreme Court justices.
Before lunch, McCortney and Johns arrived to speak to the gathering.
“I’m a huge fan of every student being able to pick their path,” McCortney told the group. “Whether it’s the vo-tech system or college, we have got to have a system for them to succeed. I think right now, in Oklahoma, our system doesn’t work very well for the RUSO schools as compared to big schools – OU and OSU. To me, at some point, we’ve got to address the system we have right now. The teacher pay raise we did last year is a great example. These are universities in Oklahoma right now who are paying their professors less than a high school teacher makes. And that’s a problem.”
Rep. Johns spokes to the gathering next.
“It’s so good to have East Central up here for Higher Education Day,” Johns said. “My family and I are so invested in ECU. It means so much to me, I’m glad they’re up here. One of my former students from Ada Junior High is here. It’s just great to see East Central participate today.”
The group finished the day with a walking tour of the State Capitol.