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Cheyney University Contingent Meets with Legislators at the State Capitol as Part of Advocacy Day

April 8, 2014

St. Rep. Thomas Killion (R-168th Legislative District) talks to Dr. Michelle R. Howard-Vital, Patricia Bell, Terrell Grayson, Kristan Justice and Desmond King during PASSHE's Advocacy Days in Harrisburg, PA

St. Rep. Thomas Killion (R-168th Legislative District) talks to Dr. Michelle R. Howard-Vital, Patricia Bell, Terrell Grayson, Kristan Justice and Desmond King during PASSHE's Advocacy Days in Harrisburg, PA

Students from all 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities including Cheyney University spent several hours in the state Capitol April 8, meeting with legislators to talk about their college experiences and how important their education is to them.

As part of the annual PASSHE event called "Advocacy Day,"  Cheyney University President Michelle R. Howard-Vital, her Chief of Staff, Sheilah Vance, Esq., Alumni Director Greg Benjamin, students Desmond King, Kristen Justice, Patricia Bell, Terrell Grayson, and alumni Ted Duncan and Barbara Daniel Cox met with several legislators in Harrisburg, including the Chair and Minority Chair of the PA House Education Committee, Rep. James Roebuck (D-188) from West Philadelphia and Rep. Paul Clymer (R-145) from Buck's County's.  They also spent time with Rep. Steven Barrar (R-160), State Senator Ted Erickson (R-26), Rep. Thomas Killion (R-168), Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland (D-159), and a representative from Senator Vincent Hughes' office, in an effort to garner continued support for CU and higher education as an investment in the state's economic future.

“There are no better ambassadors for PASSHE and our universities than our students,” said Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “They can talk about their educational experiences in a way no one else can."

Cheyney students, administrators and alumni thanked the legislators for their support and solicited their continued support. The lawmakers listened to their stories, concerns and ideas.  They talked about a myriad of things including full funding, scholarship aid, partnerships with businesses, the university's upcoming Middle States Reaffirmation Visit, and programs to grow CU's STEM offerings since the university is about to open its new science center and planetairum.

"Cheyney University accepts a unique demographic of students that differs from other state institutions," Student Trustee Kristan Justice shared. "As such, we have unique needs that have to be met in order to uphold the rich legacies this school was founded upon. Pledges of commitment and support from legislators as well as advice on how we, as students, can be more involved in our university's advancement, were just a few of the many topics of conversation held with political leaders."

Alumni talked about the rich legacy Cheyney has and explained what they are willing to do in order to help CU thrive. After frank and open discussion, Rep. Killion gave the Cheyney contingent a tour of the state capitol and even took them onto the House floor. Later, from the Senate Gallery, Cheyney and groups from the other 13 PASSHE schools were formally introduced before lawmakers.

The Cheyney group hopes the interactions will bear fruit in the coming months.