Thousands of Tigers, Cajuns, Jaguars rally at Capitol to protest proposed cuts to Louisiana higher education _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Members of the Southern University band play during a rally on the steps of the State Capitol Wednesday to protest possible funding cuts to higher education systems in Louisiana.

Southern University System students, faculty and alumni are planning another rally at the Louisiana State Capitol this week to showcase support for higher education amid the threat of more cuts to state dollars.

The rally will be on Thursday, March 31 at 1 p.m. on the steps of the capitol.

During a three-week special session which began in February, there were at least two higher education rallies at the capitol where stakeholders advocated against cuts to Louisiana’s colleges and universities. While higher education escaped the special session with minimal bruising (a $28 million cut related to a shortfall in TOPS funding), it’s facing the potential for another round of steep cuts in the 2016-2017 fiscal year which begins July 1.

On Thursday, Southern University officials will also be in the rotunda of the capitol beginning at 10 a.m. to showcase alumni exhibits and campus activities.

The rally will feature the “Human Jukebox” marching band, and speakers including SU President Ray Belton and Higher Education Commissioner Joseph Rallo.

The Baton Rouge campus is offering round-trip shuttle service to the capitol beginning at 11:30 a.m., departing from the student union.

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