Yesterday, I gathered with college students and faculty from across San Diego County. We gathered as part of a statewide “Strike and Day of Action” against budget cuts to California schools. The strike was called for after a meeting held at UC Berkeley on October 24 where more than 800 students, teachers and staff gathered to discuss the issue.
The walkout started at individual schools and culminated with a rally in Balboa Park for the entire region. The rally was followed by a march to the governor’s office downtown. San Diego State, UC San Diego, and San Diego City College were just few of the schools in attendance.
The rally was not what I expected entirely. I expected a bunch of angry students, which there were, but it was much more than that. There were families there. The people gathered in Balboa Park were not there just for themselves, but for the future.
The frustration that has been building over the last couple years showed as attendees shouted, “What do we want? Education! When do we want it? Now!”
“You can only take so much before you fight back,” said Sara Pianavilla, a San Diego State junior.
San Diego students were certainly not alone in their fight as rallies were held across the state, including ones in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
No student, faculty or staff member of California’s public schools has been unaffected by budget cuts. With fee-increases, layoffs and mandatory furlough days, we have all suffered.
Personally, the cuts to the number of classes is what has impacted me the most. Unable to get the classes I needed forced me to attend summer school in order to graduate in time. It wasn’t the inconvenience that bothered me, it was the fact that I should have been able to graduate in four years with no problem, but instead had to pay the extra tuition for summer school.
Like myself, many of the students gathered were seniors and after May we won’t have the same personal investment in this issue. So why were we there? For that mom and her little boys who want to go to college too.
~ Nicole Lee is an SDSU senior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies.