CSUN students vent their frustrations about budget cuts at ‘Vocal Artillery’ open mic event

Ashley Soley-Cerro

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Students for Quality Education organizer Cathie Pacheco educates attendees of the Vocal Artillery event Thursday night about the salaries and perks the CSU board of trustees receive. Photo Credit: Armando Ruiz / Senior Photographer

The Students for a Quality Education (SQE) creatively expressed their irritation with the $500 million proposed budget cut for the next school year by hosting an open mic night at the Chicana/o house on Thursday.

The group encouraged the audience to participate in the campus protest against these cuts March 2. During the event a video that was filmed at Cal Poly Pomona’s 2009 walkout was shown.

“Each generation must find their historical mission and either fulfill it or betray it,” Frantz Fanon, a Martiniquen philosopher and revolutionary was quoted in the video.

An enjoyable mix of spoken word, poetry, art, comedy and music were used as mediums to discuss the budget cuts that will affect students in the fall semester. In the end it was a mix of discussion about topics like corruption and greed, and watching fellow students put their pride and emotions on the line to deliver heart wrenching stories, dreams and images through their chosen art.

“Our words are our weapon,” said junior Alex Hernandez, 20, graphic design and Chicano studies major, during a spoken word performance.

Junior Frances Rosenberg, philosophy and humanities major, gave her first acoustic performance at mic night. Her style reminiscent of a stripped down Sleater-Kinney set.

“My mind is numb as I contemplate everything, I’m confused, I feel abused,” Rosenberg sang during “Essence.”

Before breaking into his fluid and enlivened set, Master of Ceremonies Futuristic discussed the unwarranted charges students face on top of increasingly high tuition fees. Although he grew up with computers and is knowledgeable as to how to operate one, computer 100 is a requirement for his marketing major. While he must pay for and attend a class he feels he does not need, he is also now the owner of seven textbooks required for the course.

Protest went beyond words during the mic night. The Kafkas, a two-person band, performed an instrumental set because the microphone no longer worked. They are self-described as a “stereophonic soundscape of think-tank grooves.”

Several flyers questioning the validity in claims that the CSU system does not have enough money to give more aid to students and faculty during these budget cuts were laid out on a table cloth that had slogans such as “Our school our future” and “Knowledge is power.”

On March 2, students will gather outside the Oviatt Library at 10 a.m. and again for the main rally at 2 p.m. to protest the proposed $500 million budget cuts and the possibility that some may now never get the chance to attend a CSU campus.