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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)

I am unfortunatley a current college student and being of this generation I am subjected to these rallies over budget cuts that come from students who are supporting every progressive politician and labor union. When will people realize that you can't have everything for nothing, the state can't fund your college education and give you money for food and housing, while you sit on your laurels and do nothing. Wake up and realilze that it is the liberals who have driven us into a huge budget deficit. I hope that people realize that these rallies will do nothing, it is ending the social programs and putting money back into the state!!

You students want to protest something? Go to Andy Stern's office at the SEIU and tell him no more bloated salaries, benifits and retirement plans for union government workers. That's where your tax money for education is going to. De-pork your government and come up with strickter criteria for workman's comp in California and you'll find you have all the money you need.

Lols @ the hippie doing the safety dance in top picture

We stand in solidarity with the FUTURE!

The future being...ATZLAN.


"sorry but california is broke and no one has the right to higher education. "

Really?!?! Are you kidding me?!?
Who is gonna run this place when you are old and helpless? the students are the future of this country and the less students you have the less educated qualified people you have to run this place. And its not only Higher Education. K-12 is also being hurt by this. Open your eyes! We can spend thousands of dollars to put people in jail but we cannot afford to invest in our future?!? WAKE UP!

"Quality Education?" For many years now this phrase has been an oxy-moron in this country. My degree (from several years ago) is practically worthless. The outlook sucks. My only suggestion is to do the best you can, don't have kids (or too many), and don't rely on government to solve our social ills so much. We are a highly developed species and work through these issues. It will take time, and many will fall through the cracks. That's just the way it goes. Lets be accountable, if not to society, at least to ourselves. Best of luck to us all. This country (and not just the education system) is in for more difficult years ahead.

"Give us free stuff, or we'll break stuff." Gotta love socialists.

Similar protests took place in the early 80's when the deep recession caused cuts in public education. I was a student at a public university in Michigan, where students shouted, "Goin' home, got no loan!". Then they put their signs in the trunk of their cars and left for spring break in Florida.

California is bankrupt. So are most other states. So is the U.S. Government. We're going down folks, you're just seeing the tip of the iceberg now. In a few years you'll be looking back on the good old days fondly remembering when you had the time and energy to protest cuts in public education as you scratch around in the dirt for those last few crumbs someone might have missed. And that's probably sugar coating the situation a little.

In response to Hannah, the state is able to build these new facilities with funding that was raised years ago through passed measures and propositions on the ballot. Voters do not understand that taxes were placed for these measures were at the height of the economy. Construction projects take awhile to contract, bid, design, and build, especially if it's in the range of millions and in the public works sector. What people do not understand is that the money restricted to a pot that VOTERS approved-- NOT legislation that can easily be voted on and turned over, you can't just moved money around because other areas of the State that are in the red. The problem lies with having the funding for operation costs post construction and accessibility to students are separate issues. Voters do have the right to put such a tax in place to include such costs for buildings currently being built and or recently completed. But please keep in mind that these buildings programs/taxes were put in place in early 2000 at the height of the economy.

These students should ask a few simple questions:

WHY is there a deficit in California.
WHO is really responsible for misgoverning this state.
WHOSE pension funds are unfunded liabilities that have contributed to our deficit?
And, WHY the hell do we keep voting into office those whose policies have created the situation we are in?

If they actually knew this information, they would come off as idiots. And, idiots are all they are. If there is no money, there is no money.

Believe it or not, they are not owed anything in America.

Maybe if illegals had to pay full out of state tuition rates, increases in tuition an decreases in service wouldn't be required.

The gov't steals more than half of our income; Our schools cost more than anywhere else in the world, and yet we rank somewhere below Bulgaria in our results.

Fire all the teachers, eliminate the Gov't Monopoly, let each parent vote with their feet to decide what school is in their best interest to send their kids to. vouchers now.

"Free" schools are abused and not appreciated.

Attention protesters: There is NO MONEY. It's not about being part of the process or having education taken away from you. These universities operate on a budget, and when there is NO MONEY coming from the state because they don't have the money, then the difference has to be made up in higher fees, higher parking costs, fewer students let in, etc. You are just protesting for the sake of protesting, but have no idea what you are there for.

Did any reporter ask them if they also plan on protesting the union they belong to that negotiates their wages, benefits and retirement plans that continue to drive up costs?

Also, Try a bake sale, it worked over the last 200 years.

You people in California are crazy. You know nothing about fiscal responsibility and when you go broke you will expect the feds to bail you out. Maybe California will have a quake and break off from the good old USA. Then you will be in your own world.

Any of these nimrods been spotted protesting the forced funding by tax payers given to the non citizens and the illegals that take away from the native Cal folks and the legal students?

I wouldn't hold my breath....

protesting the lack of money for their schools? why not organize fund raising activities instead of merely protesting? i especially love the signs in spanish. "los estudiantes .... somos revolucion..." i thought may day protests are usually in... may?

your so right jeffsd, i have a full time job when i was in college and still keep up with my grades, the people who are protesting right now should spend their time looking for a job, if you can't have a job and go to school at the same time you might as well drop out, cause stupid people like you will just waste our tax money.

I would like one of these wise and worldly students to tell me where the money is supposed to come from?

I agree with Spokker above.

I teach at UCR. By the third week of the quarter, one-third of the students enrolled in the class no longer come to lecture; by week six, the number grows to roughly two-thirds. Of those students that do still attend, a majority either sleep, listen to their ipod, surf the internet, or leave early. Most students do not do the assigned readings and only cram at the last minute for an exam.

A common concern raised at these protests is that students cannot get into a class because it is too full; another is that they cannot get into the university because they are being wait-listed. My response to this concern is this: why does that even matter if they are never going to go to lecture, read, or actively participate in the learning process?

No one at the UC systems have taken a pay cut,but they have taken raises as the fees have gone up. Everyone has a Right to an education whether you are rich or poor. All of you are saying the unions are behind this. How do you know that, and have you been to a meeting? These students want an education, and they are thinking for themselves. With you people it is always the uninons fault. What you are saying the cannot think for themselves.

Many of these protesters and students probably and mostly likely voted for Obama. This is Change and Hope all of you demanded. You all deserve what you get!!!

If all the little darlings pictured in the shots above put as much effort into their studies they'd all be PhD's by now.

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