The country is buzzing with controversy: education budget cuts, expensive defense spending, possible government shutdown as a result of partisan disagreement and the stripping of workers’ collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, to name a few.
The most populous state, California has not been spared from these matters. Most notably, the state’s system of higher education continues to sustain budget cuts. Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget calls for a $500 million cut to the CSU and UC systems as a best-case scenario.
CSUN has a history of activism from protesting the Vietnam War to leading the charge to create ethnic studies departments during the 1960’s and 70’s. Just this month, a second protest against statewide budget cuts that instituted faculty furloughs in spring 2010 and sent students to Sacramento Monday for a demonstration at the Capitol.
The low participation for both events has been criticized widely across campus. The second annual protest drew a small fraction of demonstrators compared to last year’s march and A.S.-sponsored busses carried 22 students on a 47-passenger charter to the Capitol, of whom five were A.S. senators and two Sundial reporters.
These lackluster demonstrations seem to contradict the attitude on campus that higher education needs to be protected and funded to ensure a successful future for California.
Across the country, thousands of union workers in Wisconsin were denied their request for collective bargaining rights after weeks of protest despite huge rallies.
If tens of thousands of workers were not recognized by their local government, what chance do a few hundred CSUN students stand to change budget decisions regarding their education?
Why are words and deeds not in sync? What realistic actions can students take to make their voices heard?