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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)

Whatever they do, please don't touch Prop 13 in order to fund education! Prop 13 allows the ongoing California real estate bubble to continue and my 500 square foot shack in south central to be valued at $300,000 (was $500,000 in 2006, darn). The ad revenue from this ongoing bubble keeps my favorite paper, the L.A. Times from becoming extinct. I just can't live without the L.A. Times.

L.A. Times, please continue to cast education, including casting those students who wants books to read, and educators who wish to be paid, in a negative light. Do whatever you need to stay solvent. You are the best!

Like it matters? The JOBS they were going to get are GONE. Now theyll just graduate with DEBT, and no way to pay it. More defaults, more underwater mortgages as a result of student loans.

I got out. Ha hahhahahahahahaah

Maybe all of you students should plan on a future of being a producer, rather than sucking off of the public tit to be a paper-shuffler. Public Administration major...puh-leeze! What are you going to do with that degree? Poke your beak into my life? I've got no degree (other than a GED) but I do know the value of hard work. I've raised blisters on my hands and feet providing for myself and I have NEVER asked anyone else for assistance (or cried when I didn't get it). Grow up and realize that the paper degree you get is a joke. Life experience is what counts. After 7 years and $50K in student loans, you'll get a job which you are unqualified for, but after two weeks of on-the-job experience, you will know hands down. I've made more as a bartender working until two AM with the aforementioned blisters than you will in "public service" and it was an enriching life experience I will never forget. Now I bust ass as a farmwife with no credit cards, no car payments, no mortgage and a sense of pride in knowing that I manage my destiny. Maybe you should try it instead of strutting around with signs while someone else pulls your strings.

CA is simply too populated, mass immigration and illegal aliens and their kids are filling our state, and WE have to suffer from this
Also these people are often less educated, which lowers the bar for everyone and agravates everything

What does protesting accomplish??? Write to your representatives! As a UC student, I can't believe some people think they can graduate without taking out loans, or working part time jobs. I mean, c'mon. I'm willing to be in debt for a couple of years in order to graduate from the UC system.

Give back my education?

That's pretty much what everyone wants.

Give me.

How about earning it. Stop being parasites.

I support privatizing of all colleges, and getting the government out of the business of running these marxist indoctrination centers. The taxpayers should no have to pay for a bunch of hippies smoking dope - and that's the professors. 90% of jobs do not require college - but the academic elites have a stranglehold on job entry. More on-the-job training, less in-the- classroom propaganda.

"HEALTHCARE"...What??? Lets fix E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N FOLKS! America wants and needs smart students. smart students who can compete with the world and not have to hock their futures!! Every person in the USA should have the right to go to higher education facilities to get a decent education regardless of race. They should be able to do this on an even playing field. Anything short of this is not healthy for our country!

Some really bitter anti-intellectuals here! You really hate paying taxes don't you, you selfish pigs? Well, imagine what society would be like without mandatory education. I suppose that's what you cretins would like. I suppose you think that all of the this nation's infrastructure should be free. I think you are the rtruly lazy ones- you don't want to pay for ANYTHING!
WHy don't you go and live under a bridge and starve when we have a society with no middle-class. You conservatives make me sick!

Well, this is what happen when you get dumb liberal kids voting for bigger government law makers who's solution is to raise taxes on everything. Sure, they believe big government knows how to spend money, but when the government needs money and raises taxes on schools,which liberals will have to pay for, they don't like it . Liberals don't like it when they pay, but they like it when other people pay for their lack of financial intelligence. I swear, bunch of stupid pot smoking college kids. Most of these people voted for elected official who loves to raise taxes ,such as Obama, and guess what these idiot kids will think when these college students have to pay $750 to $1,500 for Healthcare whether they like it or not. Bunch of college kids who are clueless why there is even a 30% fee hike. On top of that, most of the kids in the crowd don't care to vote this upcoming November for their elected official who might have the perfect solution to fix California. Most of them think voting is not even important and most of them don't even know there is an important election coming up on November. Pointless to keep making points.

As I write this comment, millions of young people around the world are earning their PhDs for FREE!!! And we are going to compete against THEM for a few jobs that there still is. Please, just let us finish our BA degrees without having to spend 40 hrs per week working low paying, without accumulating loans the size of a mortgage and without unnecessary delays caused by class cuts. Is that that much to ask?

Students! Resign yourselves to the fact that unlike your parents you will never own your own home or be able to raise a family comfortably. The corporations and the bought US government have you sold you out over the last thirty to forty years.

Well I come to this country to get a free ride and now I'm told I must pay for my education.

I'm amazed the demonstrations are so small. But every movement begins with a single idea. The frustration with government that these students feel is the same as that felt by their elders. Getting off your a$$ and getting in the streets is long overdue.
Freedom of Speech is a constitutional guarantee.

You can just ignore the "Glenn Beckerheads" who rant about socialists, "progressives" and elitist students.

It's only jealousy and old age talking.

Now children, this is the real world. When the money is all gone, there is nothing to left to spend. It is that simple.
Many of you will, upon graduation (or sooner), be moving back home to Mama and Papa. Why do you ask? Because there are no jobs.
You do realize that there are many experienced and laid off individuals in you field of studies to compete with?
And you thought you were going to change the world. Hangover time.

Smokee, how much of that infrastructure that currently exists did you pay for? Or even had a hand in building? I'm sure you and those other trust fund babies have zero callouses on those soft hands. Hey, maybe you could learn to use one of those old rotary push lawnmowers. Now that is "going green".
Oh, lest I forget. Your intellectualism is.....dazzling.
On another note, now that I think about it, I want the money that I paid in taxes for the teachers who taught these useful(less) idiots refunded.....with interest!!

Back in the day of my parents people had to pay for their own education. These people did not have loans or grants, but had a job.

I am very sorry Cal guys.
You were push into a free education, free lunch, free health care for everybody who knocks the door, no questions ask.
Arnold and his Dem, lefties, and Libs friends had you to believe that you were very special and in some cases get even pay to attend classes.
Well, once they came out of their fantasy the bills have to be paid by the state and Arnold is now looking for the entire country to pay Cal’s bills.
Let me give you reality news. Virginia State Universities students, as an example, have been paying 14,000 year tuition and their parents have mounting student’s loans and the students themselves have to work to help to finance their education.

Organized by unions? I mean, c'mon, they should all just march under a hammer and sickle and be done with it.

The real overall problem here is that the ballooning surplus of tax money to support pointless public endeavors has dried up. Government and anything that has to do with government is a Ponzi scheme anyway. Like social security, it seems that California's school funding depends on an ever-growing population and economic base to support these kinds of things and when the economy takes a dump, then there's no more surplus to support it.

The other side of the coin here is that people have come to expect college as another entitlement. For better or for worse, only a limited number of people had college educations before the 1960s. In truth, society is probably no better off now with everyone's kid going to college than they were before. The vast majority of jobs simply don't need a person to have a college degree, but since college money began to be readily available, everyone wanted their kid to go to college and get a B.A. to have a leg up on everyone else's kid. Now that lots of people have B.A.s, everyone has to go get a M.A. to be competitive, when in most cases, people would be a lot better off getting a 6-7 year earlier start in their working career (at 18) and relying on doing some reading and getting some extra training outside of their working time to make up for anything they need to learn to move ahead. They also wouldn't be stuck trying to repay $40,000+ in student loans, something that genuinely hobbles the financial planning of many people. Of course, you'd never hear that idea brought up in the mainstream press, because all too many people look at parents and their potential college kids as being nothing but cash cows (including all those professors these protestors are marching in "solidarity" with, who probably couldn't hack it working in a drive through at Taco Bell if they lost their tenure).

Of course, this would put a crimp in the plans of all the kids who want to go to college who want to experience the "college lifestyle" on their mommy and daddy's dime, which is what I think of every time I head about someone majoring in film, philosoophy, comparative literature or other fake degrees. In short, get over it. Having your ability to attend college be curtailed may be the best thing that ever happened to you.

The students might consider hanging out in large groups outside Home Depots. Then they can jump in the back of pickup trucks and go do some manual labor. I suppose that would make them SCABS though. Hmmmn, must be some other solution.

As an 18 year old student, I must say that knowing that so many of my classmates are Pinko Liberal Commies who will beleive anything that some whackjob says makes me very afraid for my generation. Half of these kids shouldn't have even made it to any sort of higher education. The false guise of entitlement has put a blinding haze in our eyes.

Bolshevik Boomers manipulating the "designer citizens" they created in the primary and secondary level schools. We're so screwed.

Berkeley isn't part of the US....these are just a bunch of Greek unionists carrying signs with english text......

Wow. This is the same area that hosts CodePink, vandalized a US Marine recruiting station, and is home to the far Left. A degree in Environmental Marxist Lesbian Sciences may go far in the People's Republic of Berkeley but doesn't mean squat in the rest of the country.

Get a life and a real career.

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