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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

‘Governor Patrick, Spot Me $1500?’

Of the voices rallying about taxes at the state house on April 8th, over 100 PHENOM activists from Universities across the state roared loudest: raise them.

“We need money for higher education,” said PHENOM President Alex Kulenovic, “because without state funding, low income and first generation students are excluded from state Universities.”

News cameras migrated from the steps of the state house-where the IBEW 103 Union gathered to verbosely explain that Biotech “fat cats” waste tax money (The real issue may be that Biotech companies moving into Cambridge have not promised to use Unions exclusively to build their new labs)-to set up on the Boston Common where students, faculty, and staff from colleges across the state shouted chants and prepared to march.

“We are criticized by people, even people who principally agree with us, of being uncouth,” said Kulenovic. “I say to them, every time we’ve sat quietly we’ve been looked over, and lost our funding. But every time we have made ourselves heard we have gotten what we wanted.”

In 2007, Massachusetts ranked46th in state appropriations for public higher education, at $155 per taxpayer. With over 300,000 people employed and attending Massachusetts public universities, PHENOM is certain they can influence the priorities of state legislators.

“Our primary export in this state is our knowledge,” said Kulenovic. “These legislators work for us, we need to tell them what we want.”

PHENOM statistics say every $1 invested in higher education returns $6.7 to the state budget through taxes.

“We never seem to run out of money for war, we never seen to run out of money to incarcerate the people we never educated, and we never seem to run out of money for bailing out banks,” Kulenovic said. “I think we can pull together a few cents for higher education.”

Moving from the Common, Kulenovic led the rally to replace IBEW 103 on the state house steps after his speech. Volunteers handed out pamphlets and small emergency first aid kits with PHENOM printed on the top to legislators entering the building. “If they get a paper cut or some minor injury they can think, thank goodness for PHENOM,” one tall pamphlet pusher said.

About the Contributor
Caleb Nelson served as the following positions for The Mass Media the following years: Editor-in-Chief: Fall 2010; 2010-2011; Fall 2011 News Editor: Spring 2009; 2009-2010