March 1, 2012
“Occupy Education” rallies were planned at college campuses throughout the state on Thursday as part of a national day of action denouncing cuts in higher education.
Marches, rallies, teach-ins and class cuts were scheduled at Cal State campuses in Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Dominguez Hills and Fullerton. Similar events were planned at University of California campuses.
Teach-ins about students rights were scheduled at UCLA. At UC Santa Cruz, “Occupiers” threatened to block vehicle traffic at campus entrances.
At Cal State L.A., students planned to walk out of classes and occupy the campus bookstore to protest a proposed $80 per-quarter campus fee hike.
The money would be used to pay the salaries of newly hired academic advisors.
Students at Cal State L.A. planned an art fair to address free speech issues.
And at Cal State Long Beach, a rally was slated to begin at noon.
Students said they were planning a “festival” with dancing and music to raise awareness about the importance of higher education.
Some students prepared elaborate billboards with metaphorical images and passages from scripture.
One of the billboards read: “Learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed. -Isaiah 1:17″
Organizers said anyone was welcome to come, and encouraged students of all ages, from kindergarten to 12th grade, to attend.
“They’re basically attacking higher education and education itself and trying to privatize higher education, so it’s up to all of us to do it.”
“Anyone is welcome to come, as long as you abide by peaceful protest,” he added.
“We’re trying to create awareness. We’re not trying to perpetuate violence any further than it has already.”
Last November, students clashed with police in a violent protest over tuition hikes during a Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach.
Police used their batons to push students out of the building. A glass door shattered during the struggle.
Board members passed a 9 percent tuition hike, which will begin this coming fall, marking the sixth straight year of Cal State tuition increases.
The University of California system has seen similar hikes, and more are possible.
The California State University and University of California systems each lost $750 million in state funding in the 2011-12 academic year.