The Editorial Staff of The Eastern Progress interviewed Lt. Governor Jeanne Hampton on Monday, April 4, after she spoke at a luncheon honoring Eastern Veterans. We spoke with her about the occasion but we also talked with her about the state of higher education in Kentucky and asked her questions about the Kentucky state budget cuts debate.

We wrote an article in the Thursday, April, 7 edition of The Eastern Progress regarding her views and it has generated a great deal of feedback. In the honor of full disclosure we are releasing the full transcript of our interview.

We have also issued a clarification to the original article posted here, http://goo.gl/V1NDa6. We corrected a quote where a portion was altered from an indirect quote to a direct quote during the editing process. The context was accurate, however, the first part of the quote was not a direct quote but a paraphrase.

The original publication’s quote read: “I would be looking for degrees that would land a job,” Hampton said. “I would not be studying history.”

The first part of the quote was a paraphrase misrepresented as a direct quote, the second part, “I would not be studying history,” was a direct quote made by Hampton.

The clarification has been made:

As a student, Hampton said she would be looking for degrees that would land a job after graduating and not focusing majors such as history, which might have limited prospects.

TRANSCRIPT:

Progress Staff:

“Tell us what brings you here to Eastern? What inspired you to come to our campus?”

Hampton:

“Well, it’s not my first time coming here since the election but if it’s a veterans’ event, I’m giving priority to veterans. Among other things, anything involving kids too. But if it’s veterans I’ll try to work in into my schedule.”

Progress Staff:

“Why do you think events like this are important?”

Hampton:

“It’s just, you know, I mentioned the word camaraderie during my speech. Uh, there’s just that sense of camaraderie among veterans. Whenever I meet veterans anywhere at any event, whether it’s non-specific to veterans, and there’s just a sense of a shared experience. All of your experiences are different, you know we are different services, but we have that in common. That, most of us chose to serve our nation and it’s a sacrifice that we all have in common and I just love meeting those folks, wherever they are.”

Progress Staff:

“Um, what do you think specifically universities can do to better help veterans that are in school now?”

Hampton:

“Well, um, I know down in Bowling Green, there’s a program call Veteran’s Upward Bound, and they work with…[sic] I thought it was just to work with veterans in Western Kentucky University but actually they will place veterans in other schools too. They have a support system specifically at that school where veterans support each other, where they’ll supply books based on denotations. There’s just a whole support there specifically for veterans. They have a study area and just, Western Kentucky just last summer opened up a new area that their Glasgow campus specifically for veterans.”

“Um and so, if we could mirror those programs, where the university decides to do that. I mean the veterans upward program has success. A high degree of success with both placing students and getting them to graduation.”

Progress Staff:

“Eastern actually has a very similar program, um, would you, could you comment on any of the programs that we have on campus? I know we have won awards in the last 10 years for our involvement specifically on Eastern’s campus.”

Hampton:

“Well, I’m not familiar with your programs enough to comment on it but I’ll look into, I will definitely look into those.”

Progress Staff:

“So with the proposed budget cuts do you think universities can still do funding for, you know, university programs. Will it still be possible or will they be crunching the numbers?”

Hampton:

“You know, you would be surprised what we could do with budget cuts. You know, when you’re…[sic] I don’t know how many of you are old enough to have or have done household budgets? But when your household budget is in distress you have to make some decisions. Uh, and you have to cut back on somethings, or maybe pare back on some other things, stop other things completely. You have to make some decisions in order to make yourself whole again. And so, but you would be surprised we all find the resources for things we find important to us. Each in our individual lives. It doesn’t matter how little money you have, you will find, the money and time for the things you believe are important.”

“And so universities are just, I mean we are asking everybody, to just cut a little bit so we, down the road, and it’s a short-term cut. A short-term cut for a long-term gain. Just so we can make ourselves whole again.”

Progress Staff:

“Why did you choose higher education and not other sectors? Cause there are plenty of other sectors where extra spending is used, such as government, there’s obviously a long list of stuff?”

Hampton:

“Well, that’s not the only thing we’ve cut though.”

Progress Staff:

“Yes, but it’s very specific. Like 4.5 [percent] over two years is a very specific and it’s kind of a lot, $3.1 million at our university, so?”

Hampton:

“What’s your whole budget, your total budget though?”

Progress Staff:

“It’s like $68 million.”

Hampton:

“You know, in the process of things in the private sector, this is what businesses are faced with every day.”

“Innovate or die. And if you, as I spoke earlier on how the corrugated packaging industry had to evolve to stay pace to maintain pace with their customers, with what the customers wanted. And so if you are forced to live on less, you’re more likely to innovate.”

“So, and again, it’s a short-term, it’s short-term for a long term gain, so.”

Progress Staff:

“I agree, it’s just we know that tuition will rise and that’s costly effect for students that want to go to college and that will detriment [sic], will be detrimental to the economics later in Kentucky because, less students.”

Hampton:

“Well, the interesting this [sic] is tuition has risen when there weren’t any cuts.”

Progress Staff:

“Yeah, so you can imagine how high it will be.”

Hampton

“But here’s the other thing too, um. You know I disagree that that’s going to deter some student from going to college. They’ll, again, if it’s important they’ll find a way.”

“I had no clue how I was going to get to college. My parents couldn’t afford it. Uh, so I ended up working my way through college. Not optimum but you know, a combination of [sic] a combination of grants and scholarships and the later the GI bill would pay for part of my MBA. But, uh, you know I was going to college and without debt by the way. For my undergrad degree I was determined to graduate with not debt and I did.”

Progress Staff:

“That’’s very difficult to do that now.”

Hampton:

“Well, but it’s certainly difficult if you don’t start out with that mindset, it really is.”

Progress Staff:

“Well, In Kentucky I think, um, where people struggle is the fact that not only are we low on the totem poll in education but when we are going and we are getting standardized testing on a national level we’re not making par. And so, those scholarships and stuff are out of reach for some students in rural areas, because they are not able to make the grades that they need because of the history of education.”

Hampton:

“That gets us to K-12 so that’s…[sic]”

Progress:

“My question would be, to support students in this region. I have heard Bevin say time and time again that education is a privilege, and I know that he sees it as that. However, the Morrill Ac, President Lincoln himself said that the reason that we are state funding institutions. The reason that we are starting land grant college is because we believe that it is a right and not a privilege. What would you say to that, and the current budget cuts. In what direction we’re heading in as a state. Is it taking emphasis of the fact that it is a privilege or is it placing emphasis on…[sic]?

Hampton:

“You are saying that college is a right? It’s interesting the things we think are rights. Because what I hear in my head when I hear something is a right, somebody has to provide that. Except for things like freedom. Well, you know, I’m not depending on you for my freedom, I’m not. I’m just, God grants me that. But it’s not depending on you doing something.”

“But if you say college is a right, what you’re saying is somebody must provide that. The taxpayers must provide that.”

“Those of us who go to work must give part of their earnings to put you through college, and I disagree with that.”

“It is not a right it is a privilege. It’s a privilege.”

“When I set out to go to school. I, [sic] there’s a couple things I took as a given. Nobody owed me a job. No body owed me to pay for my college. And once you realize that it’s pretty freeing. It’s really freeing because now you start, you set about determining how you’re gonna do that. And the options are limitless. They really are.”

“The only option is not for the state to give you something. Um, and, here’s the other thing, there’s other schools. There are other schools.”

“You know, let’s inject some competition in there.”

“If you guys decided, ‘hey you know what I think the tuition is too high here,’ and if enough people decided tuition was too high and started actually shopping your dollars, what do you think will happen?”

Progress Staff:

“What happened here. We are the lowest rate.”

Hampton:

“Tuition comes down.”

Progress Staff:

“We find that we are still in the 4.9 percent budget cuts even though 80 percent of our students are from the state of Kentucky. We already have the lowest tuition in the state comparably. But there are community colleges and that sort of thing. But you do look at Eastern where at UK, and these places that are heavily funded by sports and athletics [sic]. And when you look at Eastern, it’s lumping all the universities into on kind of basket, and kind of putting them all in the same area where I think that the debate is starting to rise. I know that with the new proposed metrics that kind of changes that. It would be based on educational standards at those institutions. What would you say to looking at different, looking at the universities different, because each of those are a separate entity.”

Hampton:

“Well, maybe we do that the next cycle, the next budget cycle. That’s how they decide to do that the next round.”

“But for now, you know, everybody has to give a little bit. We’re all…[sic] Not that much. We are asking everybody to give a little bit.”

“I’ll tell you, if I was a student…[sic]. I was talking with um, Veteran’s Upward Bound director at Western Kentucky University. They had placed several people at uh, in the technical college. The robotics engineering program is wildly popular. They are hirable with no experience right out, with a degree. Right out of the gate.”

“I would be looking for degrees where people are looking for…uh”

Progress Staff:

“For employees?”

Hampton:

“For employees, yes, that’s what. I would not be studying history. Unless, you have a job lined up. Unless there’s somebody looking for a history major. And there are some places that are looking for that sort of wide background, but…”

Progress Staff:

“Do you thing that people should be looking at this as something that’s a short term fix?”

Hampton:

“Do you mean budget cuts? It only gets worse if we don’t do the things we need to do to attract business to Kentucky and expand the taxpayer base.”

Progress Staff:

“But do you think we are looking at short term or will it become a pattern?”

Hampton:

“Again, it’s going to depend. It’s going to depend on who Kentuckians decide to send to the house. Because, I can guarantee you, if we don’t flip the house, we’re not going to get Right to Work. We’re not going to get the policies in place that are going to attract more businesses and taxpayers to Kentucky. So now you’re deepening the hole. It’s just gonna depend on Kentuckians.”

“You know the governor and I are doing things, our primary purpose is to get jobs in every corner I the state. Cause what that does, when you expand your, I’m not for raising taxes. I am just for expanding the pool of taxpayers.”

“Lets get more people to work. Lets get more here. And that’s really gonna come down to us flipping the house and getting things done.”

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