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Rallies against education cuts begin; officials warn against violence

A national day of protests against education funding cuts began Thursday with generally peaceful rallies, walkouts and teach-ins at universities and high schools. But an incident in which demonstrators smashed the windshield of a car trying to enter UC Santa Cruz brought a warning against any other violence.

 At Cal State Dominguez Hills in the Carson area, about 50 students gathered in front of the student union with some shouting "Give My Education Back!" and carrying signs that proclaimed: "From Pre-K to Ph.D., Let Me Go to School." They played a mock “Wheel of Fortune” game with stops that included "graduating in four years with a good education" and "getting a 30% fee increase."

One of the organizers, Kevin Orantes, 23, a junior majoring in public administration and communications, said he became involved because he was upset about the effects of budget cuts on access to education and wanted to leave a better legacy for his own children. "Today’s generation is reaping the benefits of sacrifice that generations before had to accomplish, like civil rights and women’s rights," Orantes said. "If we don’t do anything for the next generation, it will all be in vain."

La-me-protests06_kys3elncChris Morales, 22, a junior majoring in business, said it felt good to be part of a large protest effort, with rallies around the state and nation. "I feel like this is a big movement that might make a difference," he said.

There were reports of some trouble in Northern California as demonstrators decried higher student fees, reduced course offerings and faculty layoffs.

At UC Santa Cruz, more than 200 protesters blocked the two main campus entrances and reportedly smashed a car windshield with a metal pipe, officials said. There was no report of injury to the driver and no arrests were made, although police are investigating the matter. All UC Santa Cruz employees were told not to attempt to drive to campus for the rest of the day.

Campus Provost David Kliger denounced the incident. "Behavior that degrades into violence, personal intimidation and disrespect for the rights of others is reprehensible, and does nothing to aid efforts to restore funding to the university," he said in a statement posted on the campus website.

UC’s top administrator also urged a day of nonviolence. "My heart and my support are with everybody and anybody who wants to stand up for public education. I salute those who are making themselves heard today in a peaceful manner on behalf of a great cause," UC system President Mark G. Yudof said in a prepared statement.

At UC Berkeley, about 150 protesters – at times chanting "Money for jobs and education, not for war and incarceration" – blocked the main pedestrian entrance to campus, Sather Gate, and also sought to stop people from walking into the university by hanging "danger" tape across paths.

A large crowd was gathering at UCLA’s Bruin Plaza. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff members chanted, "Who's got the power? We've got the power!" as others walked out of classes for the protest.

La-me-protests01_kys0ognc Professor Sara Melzer joined her UCLA students in the 11:30 a.m. walkout from their French culture and writing course because she said she wants to stop what she described as the privatization of public higher education. "It's not just about student fee hikes," she said. "That's the tip of the iceberg."

Roselyn Valdez, 28, an anthropology graduate student at Cal State Northridge, participated in the UCLA demonstration and held a white sign that showed a skeleton writing the words "RIP UC." She said it stood for the demise of the public education system that helped her study at Los Angeles City College, UC Santa Barbara and now at Cal State Northridge.

Valdez said she used loans, scholarships and worked various jobs to pay her education costs. "With fee hikes, I can't imagine anyone else having the chance that I did," she said.

The rallies, organized by unions and student groups, are scheduled throughout California, and around the nation in what organizers describe as a "Day of Action." Events are planned in, among other spots,  Sacramento, Long Beach and San Diego, as well as in New York City, Boston, Baton Rouge, and Seattle.

Authorities are warning of possible traffic delays Thursday afternoon in Westwood and downtown Los Angeles because of the protests.

The protesters at UCLA have a permit to march off campus about 5:30 p.m. They are expected to march south along Westwood Boulevard and cut through some side streets to Wilshire Boulevard and back to campus along Westwood Boulevard, according to an Los Angeles police advisory.

The permit is for 150 people, but the statement notes that officials "expect more." No formal street closures have been scheduled.

Separately, many busloads of students, faculty and staff from Southern California universities and high schools are scheduled to converge at 4 p.m. at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles and then march about three blocks for a rally an hour later near the Ronald Reagan State Building on Spring Street.

Police say there will be intermittent street closures along Olive Street, Hill Street, Broadway and Spring Street and around 4th and 5th streets, and they urge drivers to seek other routes, particularly Figueroa Street, as a possible better route to freeway entrances.

-- Carla Rivera in Carson, Nicole Santa Cruz in Westwood and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles.

Photo (top): Students from Santee High School and from West Adams Preparatory High School call on other Santee students to join them in protest as they march through downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times. Photo (top): Protesters at Cal State Long Beach. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times. Photo (bottom): UCLA to protesters. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.

Photos: Education protests


-Photo from Berkeley.

-Photo from UC San Diego.

-Photo from UC Santa Cruz.

-Map of statewide protests.


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Comments () | Archives (113)

wow- the poor things don't even realise that they are being manipulated by the teachers unions to make waves. sorry but california is broke and no one has the right to higher education. we have been very generous as a population but have nothing left to give. students who cannot afford the increase will either have to get part time jobs or delay their education until times are better.

Over 300 students are currently sitting in at Murphy Hall at UCLA in order to negotiate with the administration and Chancellor Block. We are against the fee-cuts and furloughs and want to have a productive dialog with the administration and not continue to be shut out of the decision making process. Please return the democratic process to the UC system! Please spread the word and come show your support!

Over 300 students are currently sitting in at Murphy Hall at UCLA in order to negotiate with the administration and Chancellor Block. We are against the fee-cuts and furloughs and want to have a productive dialog with the administration and not continue to be shut out of the decision making process. Please return the democratic process to the UC system! Please spread the word and come show your support!

Love and Solidarity from Olympia to all those across the nation fighting the privatization of our educations!

These protests will do nothing to help solve the problem. These protesters think that education is a right. Well, its not. They would be better served if they and others stopped electing progressives who just want to turn our nation into a nanny state.

I am really angry that educators can't have all the funding they want. I would be glad to join them at their rallies if they will rally with me against other things that make me angry like, the sun rising and setting every day.

Do they understand that cuts in spending for education are as inevitable as the rising and setting of the sun when our cities, states, and federal government have spent us into massive debt. Do they understand that much of the spending that got us into this situation was supported by those who now protest budget cuts.

Hopefully, one day, we will have the wealth to be spendthrifts and get away with it. Until then, we all must now face the music; the till is empty. Deal with it.

Does anyone find it ironic that violence is to suspected from today's rally? How many "Che" t-shirts are going to worn today by those indoctrinated by the left?
If these students are truly outraged, then they would stop supporting the progressive politicians and labor union leaders that are chasing business and employment opportunity from the state, subsequently leading to increases in college tuition and decreases in education budgets because business, sales and income tax revenues are in a state of decline.

I am a current student at UCSC and I saw first hand that there was no violence at the protest. It is simply a demonstration to show our dissatisfaction with the budget cuts and the extreme increase in tuition. The quality of our education is decreasing with the increase of our student fees. They blame the fee hikes on the recession yet if we are in such a deep hole why are we continuing to build new facilities when students cannot even register for classes because of the lack of teachers? The students were using non-violent tactics in their protest and people need to realize that.

Hey jeffsd, you misspelled realize as realise, maybe you should consider getting a part time job and go back to school so that you can learn how to spell.

I go to CSUF and you wouldn't believe how many students text in class. The new move is to pretend like you are taking notes on your laptop and hiding your texting behind the laptop screen. These people expel more effort on finding "easy A's" than actually studying. Students always ask for curves at the end of the semester. A D turns into a C very easily. The standards are so low that few students are learning anything.

The fact of the matter is that need-based financial aid and years of saying, "You HAVE to go to college!" has enticed a generation of kids into four year institutions that do not belong. They graduate with nonsense majors like philosophy and history and then we wonder why these people can't find a job after graduation.

The standards should be raised to prohibit students from attending state-schools just to stave off adulthood for another four years. Financial aid should be based on merit as well as need.

Not everybody is cut out for the academic rigor required to thrive in a university. That's fine. There are many vocational programs that provide the proper training to find a good job and make a good living. This idea that everybody should be entitled to enjoy a free or highly subsidized ride to a four year institution is madness.

It is sad to see that our government is forcing things to go this way. California is so much in debt that it does not know how to repair itself. People running office is just not willing to help. Oh, that is all I can say. Protest but be safe. No reason to get violent. Obama, stop it all ready. You are trying to rescue the economy but without thinking. Obama, think first then act next.

i am currently a student at mt. san jacinto junior college and this article is breaking news to me!! what i find sort of humours is that i had class today and there was not anything out of the ordinary. however, i must agree that the educational budget cuts are eventually lead to greater downfall of the economy. education is an investment not only on a personal level, but on society as a whole.

Fire hoses and tear gas will break up the demonstration

My name is Wendy. I am a senior Community Studies Major at the University of California Santa Cruz. My tuition has been raised by 41% in the last year, my major has been eliminated, and my professors have been laid off. I will be graduating with over $45,000 in debt from student loans.

I have been active in the student protests on my campus and helped to shut down the University today. The continued privatization of our public education is inexcusable. A public university system needs to be accountable to the public.

I am writing in response to the reports that protesters were carrying clubs, knives, and smashing car windshields with a metal pipe.

I can tell you from a first hand account of these events, this is a blatant lie. I have been on site since 5 am and we have done everything to make sure this protest was strictly nonviolent. I have spoken with numerous police monitoring the events who insist no such instances have occurred. There are absolutely no knives, clubs, or metal pipes.

The only incident to note was that a disgruntled driver that wanted to enter campus decided to drive full force into a line of protesters resulting in students being throw on to the hood of his car resulting in his broken windshield. This was not an act of violence on the part of the students, but of a reckless and dangerous decision made by the driver.

To insist that student protesters have acted violently is insulting, and is nothing more than a tactic to discredit this movement and our intentions. The fact that the University administration has resorted to these deceitful tactics tells me that they are feeling the pressure of this student up-rising and gives me hope that we will prevail.

Please be aware that there are numerous instances of false reports attempting to paint the students and this movement in a negative light.

Our intentions are clear... our education needs to be of quality, affordable, and accessible; and we will accomplish this without resorting to violence.

Would someone tell the kids that they should take their protest down to the prisons and welfare offices? When the money runs out, its musical chairs for the beneficiary class. Or is that too complicated a narrative for those in higher education?

Wow, no money for incarceration huh? These morons are the brains of the future and they're advocating letting criminals run free just so they don't have to pay more for their education.
Man - the entitlement generation would have never survived the 40's-80's. The whining from these 'enlightened' CHILDREN who don't know crap about the real world is annoying.

Why is it that I worked my way through Tulane Law School without any financial support in the late 80’s? If I can do it anyone can but this ridiculous demonstration is an exercise in futility as California is more than broke with no money for basic municipal services let alone a handout for education.

If you want it bad enough, you will always find a cogent way to make it happen so start trottin students and make it come true for you and good luck but I wouldn’t be looking at state or federal government to subordinate these costs in any fashion as the money just aint there.


Gimme, gimme, gimme, waaaaa

Dont they teach economics "001" in junior high school anymore?

If you dont have the money, you cant do what you want.

Poor babies. They may not get their education off the backs of old war vets like me and my son who fight for their sorry behinds. What ever happened to working your tail off at a job after school or before. These little runts and their entitlement mentality make me puke.

Here in California the liberals, teachers and their unions INSIST on giving a paid for education K-12 to the children of ILLEGAL aliens. To make matters worse they don't even require they learn it in English. Then when they come around to college they give them the same rate or better than a citizen of this country. In 2004 California spent $10,400,000,000 that's BILLION for people that recieved a public school education on services for ILLEGAL aliens. It is time for this nonsense to stop. If you want an education than insist it goes only to Americans and the taxpayers might be able to afford it.

Government spending on all levels is going to have to be cut. It is interesting that these protests are coming at a time when there is a push to create a huge new entitlement in government provided health care. Eventually Americans will have to realize that expecting someone else to pay for all of their wants and needs is ruining our country. Their was a time when people expected to provide for themselves. If you want to go to college, pay for it. If you want health insurance, pay for it. It is greedy and self important to expect someone else to do this for you.

Looks like an uprising in a third world nation. I guess our liberal education system has dumbed our children down to that level. I can hear the snot nosed little brats now,"How can we be indocturnated into liberalism if tax payers don't fund our schooling!" Freaking rediculous!

I'd like to see how students would handle the situation if they had to decide how to provide an education for themselves with LESS than the money that was available. Not by demanding more resources, but by figuring out how to do more with less.

The way the average Joe has to make-do.

We need to privitize education and make sure NONE of these government stooges ever get a chance to teach the children of this country anything. Cut ALL the money they get. I don't want to pay for one red cent of their education.

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