Students rally in Sacramento against budget cuts

Cynthia Gomez

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SACRAMENTO- About 50 CSUN students marched on the streets of Sacramento on Monday to join the estimated 1,500 students and other members of the public onto the north steps of the state’s Capitol in order to get their message across to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: No budget cuts to higher education.

“CSU has a powerful impact of California’s economy,” said Jammie Jelks from California State University, Chico, who marched with other students to the Capitol.

Francisco Soberanis, a student from De Anza College, said the governor should not propose budget cuts to higher education because it helps “the foundation of our system.”

The governor has proposed a $1 billion budget cut to higher education. Further, he has also proposed to cut $386 million from the CSU system.

The proposed budget cut to the CSU system includes a 10 percent student fee increase, eliminate access to 10,000 eligible incoming students, eliminate classes, increase class size, reduce the number of faculty and staff and further cause an increased delay in graduation.

In early May, the governor will release a revised proposal for the 2008-2009 state budget, which includes funding for CSUs. If approved by two-thirds of the legislative vote, the governor is expected to approve the budget by July 1, the new fiscal year.

Cuts to the number of college-educated people California produces will further damage the economy, the says the California Faculty Association. The CFA indicates the Alliance for the CSU hopes the governor will reconsider his proposed cuts of $386 million to the CSU budget.?

Students from CSUs, UCs, and community colleges and others marched about a mile from Raley Field in West Sacramento to the Capitol as they chanted: “What do we want? No Budget cuts! When do we want it? Now!”

The protesters marched to the steps of the Capitol they chanted: “Kick us out, we’ll vote you out!” Students carried signs such as “Don’t hate, educate!,” “The CSU is the Solution! No Budget Cuts!” and “Hasta la Vista Budget Cuts!” Several students wore red T-shirts that read in black print, “Access Denied.”

“Today is the day for (students) to come out, scream, to show all the emotions, let loose and make sure that the lawmakers know what we want, what we actually need right now,” said Stephanie Chan, one of the coordinators of the march and a junior from UC Berkeley.

“There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing all your peers, seeing a whole bunch of people together.”

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi joined students in the march.

“I am so proud of each and every one of you!” Garamendi said in a press conference on the north steps of the Capitol that followed after the march. “Each and every one of you will change what’s going in Sacramento. And the message is simple: Kick us out, we’ll vote you out!”