CSUN A.S. approves funds to charter busses for protest against education budget cuts

Samantha Tata

Senator Melinda Hambrick is in favor of A.S.-funded busses to Sacramento on March 14th to protest education budget cuts. Photo Credit: Leah Oakes / Contributing Photographer

A.S. approved to fund transportation to Sacramento for California State Student Association’s (CSSA) “March for Higher Education.”

The student protest, which will be held March 14 at the state capitol, is against statewide cuts that continue to drain the budgets of California universities, including Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2011-2012 budget proposal, which includes a $500 million cut to the CSU system.

“Tuition has gone up every year but one during the last ten years,” said Melinda Hambrick, upper division senator.  “We want to ensure that education remains affordable.”

Hambrick said now that the resolution has passed, the finance committee can create a budget and itinerary for the event.  She estimates there is already enough interest to fill one bus.

CSUN attended last year’s march but wasted funds when not all of the busses were used. Of the four rented busses, only three were sent to Sacramento, one of which was half full.

A.S. President Conor Lansdale said CSUN would reserve the busses for 24 hours.

A round-trip to Sacramento takes 14 hours. Students will have two hours to protest, one hour for lunch and one hour for loading and unloading.

“It cost about $3,000 for four busses (last year),” Lansdale said.

During the senate meeting, Lansdale said funding transportation is “relatively cheap” and A.S. has “more than enough money” to do so.

The funds will be taken from a portion of the A.S. budget designated for senators’ transportation to CSSA events, said Amanda Flavin, business and economics senator.

“This will be the most organized protest you will ever see,” Flavin said.

She added that CSSA’s march designates specific zones in which students may protest. Legislative officials and law enforcement are aware of the event.

Lansdale said the activism of A.S. Vice President Neil Sanchez, who is in Washington, D.C., lobbying for the protection of Pell Grants, has given CSUN, the second largest CSU campus, a reputation of being active.

“Our students have a culture and history of activism in political affairs,” Lansdale said.  “I haven’t heard of any CSU’s that are not going (to Sacramento).”