Rallies, marches, political theater and teach-ins are taking place at schools across the state today. Protesters are hoping to send the message to Sacramento that cuts to public education need to be restored. According to one KQED story, California currently places 47 in per pupil spending in the country. Here are a few sources to get you up to speed on today’s activities:
- Today’s Forum discussed the rallies with education reporters Lisa Kreiger and Jill Tucker as well as a few students and PTA members.
- Youth Radio has been posting updates about every half hour.
- Chronicle reporter Justin Berton has been tweeting about the protests.
For a bit of background on the protests, listen to KQED Tara Siler’s report from Tuesday:
And KQED Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers look at Prop. 98:
The lead story in this morning’s California Report was again about students protesting the University of California regents’ vote to increase tuition. The story includes a report from the UC Berkeley campus, where students occupied a building overnight. One protester who was interviewed said that money is being spent on “construction” instead of “instruction.”
Despite protests at University of California campuses across the state, the UC regents voted today to approve a tuition increase that brings the yearly cost of attending a UC to over $10,000. Rob Schmitz filed this report for KQED Radio News.
The cuts keep coming and so do the protests. Leaders of the California State University and the University of California systems both have meetings scheduled this week: fee increases and enrollment limits are on the table. Students and faculty plan to voice their dissatisfaction by staging rallies and walking out of classes. KQED’s Forum talked to San Jose Mercury News reporter Lisa Krieger about how community colleges and universities are faring in these financially tough times and how students are reacting.
Universities across the state are facing budget shortfalls, resulting in cut classes, faculty walkouts, and spending scrutiny. Close attention is being paid to funding allocation and non-academic areas, like sports, are feeling the heat. The athletic/academic divide is not new but has renewed passion in these tight economic times. Some in the UC Berkeley community are calling for an end to athletic department subsidies. Listen to the discussion on Forum and read more at the DailyCal.org.
By Prairie Park
September 24, 2009 seemed like a normal first day of school: students were filled with anticipation and excitement for the school year. Even while I walked along Ring Road at 9:30 a.m.(a.k.a. “the crack of dawn” for many college students), there was an array of tables set up to snatch any and every student’s attention. As I wandered through the seemingly never-ending rows of fraternity and club members inviting me to their Welcome Week events, I thought to myself, “Ah, the sweet smell of cardstock in the morning.”
However, as I walked through the less crowded paths to my morning class, I heard small clusters of groups here and there discussing the walkout that was scheduled to take place. Students were deciding whether or not they would attend the rally at noon.
When I got to class, more of my classmates were talking about the walkout. Glad to eavesdrop, I heard one student explaining the effects of the budget cuts and why the walkout was so important. In another conversation, I heard a student talking about how his class was canceled because of the walkout. The professor had written them an email saying, “No class today. UCI under siege.” Even my professor decided to make his opening statement for the year about the positive aspects of the walkout and went on to explain to us why he had decided to continue on with class as scheduled rather than participate in the walkout for the whole day.
Thousands of students and faculty members at UC Berkeley protested against budget cuts and proposed fee increases. Denise Tejada brought back this video from the scene.
By Youth Radio Staff
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA- A high energy rally attended by thousands of UC Berkeley students and faculty is building at the university’s Sproul Plaza.
Nineteen-year-old Ricardo Gomez is a student organizer with the Solidarity Alliance and Berkeley Students Against the Cuts. He says the rally is the biggest political action he’s ever seen on campus, with an array of constituencies, from “multicultural and ethnic groups, to just random ass students.”
UC Berkeley police report a turnout of four to five thousand people at Sproul Plaza as of 1:30 p.m.
Gomez says he thinks the rally’s impact will go beyond symbolism. “I think it will lead to UC regents and administrators, and the California legislature evaluating their actions a little more closely – I don’t think they want to see this continuously,” he said. “It’s important for them to see students involved in this because there are more of us than anyone else on our campuses. When we have students, we have power because we have numbers.”
Twenty-year-old Michelle Thomas said she’s been inspired by speakers at the rally, especially the custodial workers. “It’s amazing to hear the perspectives of people who have been hurt the most, who have lost their jobs. They want us to get together. This is just the start – they want us to sign the agreement to support them, and us.” Thomas said she came on her own but plans to join as many groups as possible involved with the action.
By Denise Tejada
Students have joined forces with faculty and staff as part of a massive walkout at ten University of California campuses on Thursday. Student protesters say budget cuts have negatively impacted the quality of their education. Youth Radio spoke with 20-year-old Tu Tran who is going into his fourth year as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. Tran is also the executive vice president of the Associated Students of the University of California.
What role have you played in organizing the walkout?
I haven’t played any direct role, but ASUC has helped a lot. For example, we help … to provide mics for the rally, and to build a bridge between students, faculty, and administration members. We also have been spreading the word, sending emails to our undergraduate population … in support of the walkout. It shows that we stand in solidarity with the people who support this.
What reasons have students shared with you in terms of why they’re walking out or helping plan this walkout?
We have a diverse campus so it’s hard to tell you what they all think. But it boils down to being upset. Not only as a vice president, but as a student at Cal, we’ve had enough with the budget cuts. It hasn’t been since the 1930s that such a drastic increase in tuition [has been proposed]—it’s been proposed that tuition would increase 32 percent.
How have UC budget cuts impacted you and your Cal education? Please give specific examples.
I’ve seen services drastically decrease. We used to have computer stations and now we don’t. We use to have set library hours and now we don’t. It’s getting harder to get into undergraduate classes. I was looking into saving this year and now it’s looking hard to do so. What I don’t understand is, if we are going to pay more to close the budget, we should still have the same services — but in this case we are getting the short end of the stick.