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California students and faculty protest education budget cuts on the steps of the Capitol

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Students and teachers from Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy in Oakland, Calif. stand in front of the Capitol building in Sacramento. Last year KDA lost 11 teachers to budget cuts and they are afraid with more cuts to education more teachers may lose their jobs. Photo Credit: Ken Scarboro / Online Editor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Students and faculty from the California State Universities and California Community Colleges marched through the streets of Sacramento to the Capitol building to protest potential continuing cuts to higher education.

One of the students present was California State Student Association (CSSA) President Christopher Chavez. “It’s one thing to march at a rally and protest but we need to continue on the pressure,” he said.

Preliminary figures reported 5,000 to 7,000 people marched and participated in the rally yesterday, said Kris Cutting, state senator with Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC) and security coordinator.

SSCCC and CSSA organized this year’s rally.

Crowds started to gather at 7:30 a.m. at the California Automobile Museum parking lot.

Organizers gave out signs to participants and groups started to rally together by banging cylindrical plastic buckets and singing chants in unison before the protest.

California Highway Patrol officers on horseback and bicycle along with the Sacramento City Police Department patrolled the area before the march began and remained present throughout.

Students, as far away as San Diego, convened on the capitol’s steps for the morning protest.

Thirteen of the 23 CSU campuses attended the rally, said Director of Government Relations Olgalilia Ramirez. They are San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, San Diego State University, California State University, Channel Islands, Chico, Dominguez Hills, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey Bay, Maritime Academy, Northridge and Sacramento.

Just 21 CSUN students attended the rally. Five of them were part of CSUN Associated Students.

CSUN A.S. senator Amanda Flavin, and senator Melinda Hambrick organized the CSUN group to head to the rally at the state capital.

Some of the reasons the students could not come, Flavin said, were because they had midterms, couldn’t take the time off from school or the rally required too much time.

“I think the participation level is determined on how students see the budget cuts affecting them or how students perceive the marches and what they’re for,” Flavin said. “I think that if we had started planning earlier, there could have been emphasis on getting students to participate.”

Though California community colleges are losing fewer funds from budget cuts than the CSUs or UCs, there was a high density of CC students at the rally. Neighboring Santa Monica City College had more than 150 students from the community college attend the rally.

“They’re going to be cuts, that’s just the reality of our situation,” said Jurena Storm, student trustee for the Peraolta Community College District.

In Storm’s district alone the four community colleges could lose more than 11,000 students because of the proposed budget cuts.

“What we are looking for is that legislators realize we are people and not just numbers,” Storm said.

Crowds mixed in chants of “Let the people vote!” and “Education should be free!”

There are 112 California Community Colleges and 23 California State Universities. The governor’s budget proposal aims to cut $500 million each from the CSU and UC systems.

“The next step is that we need to make sure that we are continuing on the pressure, meeting with our reps and speaking for our students,” Chavez said.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Sami CC Student Mar 15, 2011

    I am a community college student and I was at the protest. I find it ridiculous that my fees are going up almost 300%, and I may have to drop out of school because I can’t afford it. College students pay their taxes too. We should not have to deal with these budget cuts or astronomical fee increases. Stop the huge amounts of money being spent on our military, and invest some money into education. We are the future.

    1. You should know that the military is funded by federal taxes, not state. You need to talk to Gov. Brown.

  2. jperez Mar 15, 2011

    Parents and teachers should keep recognizing the inefficiency and the mismanagement of the education funds from the county level first. Cut the bad programs that do not work, cut the overpaid salaries, cut the unequal distribution of funds (more funds go to wealthier communities), and increase the emphasis on overseeing expenditure records. Because with this flaw in the system, the legislators will use this flaw to justify the cuts.

    But at the same token, this inevitable cuts should be fair to the people of Cali especially the bottom end of the echelon. Everyone knows that the big corporations and the top 1% are getting better treatment when it comes to their contribution to fixing the state budget crisis. Poor families and both the upper and lower middle class will always be bullied to pay more at the end of the day. It’s always been this way and needs to stop!

    At the end of the day, poor education will lead to rotten communities, more uneducated young population, more joblessness, more crimes, and more crisis ahead of us if we do not work together and come up with a fair solution.

  3. “Students, as far away as San Diego, convened on the capitol’s steps for the morning protest.”

    Amazing! These students can be in San Diego and in Sacramento at the same time. David Copperfield would be proud!

    But seriously, aside from the Sundial editors’ slip-up, this is what got my attention: “Crowds mixed in chants of ‘Let the people vote!’ and ‘Education should be free!'” As I’ve noted before, these protesters are ingrates. They want me to pay higher taxes so that they can get a “free” education. They’re not grateful for the huge subsidy of their education from the taxpayers; they want more! They want it for free! Studies show, however, that people don’t value what they get for free.

    I pay about half my income in federal, state, and local taxes. Isn’t that enough? Oh, and I suspect that when Gov. Moonbeam gets his plebiscites on the ballot, the people are not likely to vote to tax themselves higher. They’ve have seen the waste and the failed programs and the leeches in the system and they’ve had enough.

    1. Mommabear Mar 15, 2011

      David,
      I can see your point, but I also think that perhaps something here has been lost in translation so I hope you’ll consider this…. I believe that many CA residents see how the state pays for so many things it probably should put farther down on the list.

      CA spent $10 BILLION last year paying for the education and support of “anchor babies”, $9 million incarcerating illegals, $700 million to medically treat illegals, and another $7million on ‘bobbles” ie keychains etc. In addition CA recognizes ‘drug addiction’ and “obesity’ as disabilities for which they’ll send a monthly check with no expectation that the recipient ‘get healthy and work their way out of the system’. I see the “education should be free” more as “Hey CA quit spending on all this other garbage and support our schools.” Or more as “Education needs to be accessible to all”. Not a literal ‘free’. There are however countries that do support free university and have a far less ‘social program abuse problem than we do in the USA.

      I believe that we need to help each other out [I’m not opposed to public aid for those who genuinely need it due to mental/physical disability] but there is significant evidence to show how our public aid services are abused and our officials are to chicken to grow some BALLS and take the tough ‘bad guy’ stands.

      I don’t want to pay higher taxes – that is what Brown is proposing to help close the budget gap. He doesn’t understand that he can’t keep looking to the hard working people to cover the bad decisions officials make and/or the greed from the lazy ‘entitled’ population.

      1. Believe me, we’re on the same page. The entitlement programs at all levels of government reinforce the “gimme-gimme” attitude of the citizenry, mostly exhibited by those who pay the fewest or no taxes.

        The government was originally intended to be the last resort when it came to people in need. Only after relatives, friends, churches and charity groups were unable to provide the help needed did the government become involved. Sadly that has changed and the people and the country are no better for it.

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