A look at students hitting up legislators for support

Hearing them out

Thought I’d pop in on one of the private meetings students are having with legislators over the tuition issue.

A group from Inver Hills Community College met with state Sen. James Metzen (DFL-South St. Paul) for about 15 minutes.

They were:

  • Margo Hollen, 34, a psychology student who wants to become a counselor;
  • Doug Hollen, 34, an art major who wants to be an elementary school art teacher;
  • Mary Dinneen, 21, who’s studying social work; and
  • Samantha Potter-Rank, 17, a Hastings High School senior who attends Inver Hills under the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program and wants to become a physician.

They told Metzen of their backgrounds: Several on welfare. Working parents. Holding down several jobs just to make ends meet.

Potter-Rank told him:

“We want you to hear our stories. We want to be remembered when you talk about tuition and cuts.”

Metzen sympathized, asking them about their situation, telling them how important they are and decrying the cost of education. Yet he remained noncommittal:

We can’t shut you out of education. .. (But the) $6.5 billion (deficit) is a huge amount. We’ve got to figure it out. I’m here to help preserve what you guys have got. … It’s good what you guys are doing. Hang in there.