Campus Prepares for Oct. 7 Rally for Education

Thousands of students, professors and parents are mobilizing across the nation to rally in today’s National Day of Action to Defend Public Education — a movement initially sparked by last year’s budget cuts, increase in tuition fees and layoffs.

According to the UCSD Coalition for Educational Justice, the Day of Action is to remind students and state legislature that the resistance will remain as long as accessibility of education remains an issue.

While the original walkout was staged at UC campuses on Sept. 24, 2009, the movement has now spread nationwide.

At least 31 states have called for actions to continue the movement to defend public education, and continue the movement which gained momentum on March 4. March 4 was the day of the first rally to speak out against budget cuts to education.

UCSD Coalition organizer and ethnic studies graduate student Rashne Limki said that today’s rally is to carry forward from where the March 4 rally left off in an attempt to make education affordable available again.

The $813 million budget cut from the UC system has caused faculty furloughs, layoffs, fee hikes and reduced course offerings.

The rallies, according to the coalition, are a way to bring attention to these detrimental effects, though they cannot be reversed immediately.

“While the rallies are not necessarily where demands get met, they are definitely the platform to get that to happen — the rallies set up visibility to get the powers to pay attention,” Limki said.

She said that the movement needs support from students, faculty and professors alike, in order to show the administration and state legislature that education is a priority.

The rally at UCSD will begin with a walkout at 11:30 a.m. Protesters are encouraged to wear black to signify a funeral procession for accessibility to the UC system.

At 12 p.m., the gatherers will meet at the Silent Tree outside Geisel and begin marching.

The rally will continue with teach-outs at 12:40 p.m., and an open mic event.

From there, the rally and march will move to downtown San Diego and meet support from rallies hosted at SDSU, other community colleges and various K-12 schools.

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue said that demonstrations will attract some of the awareness organizers are looking for.

“The rallies are definitely a visible way to draw attention and support for the pressing issue,” Rue said.

Since this is a peaceful demonstration, Rue said the administration supports the students’ First Amendment rights to occupy the campus for the rally

“I support people to exercise the right to free expression,” Rue said.

According to organizer and Marshall College sophomore Huma Waseem, the rally is also a way to bring light to students’ perssonal stories. For her, the enrollment in a four-year university was harder than expected.

“I’m an immigrant, and my expectation about [education in the U.S.] was not met,” Waseem said. “[The rally] is a way to get the word out, and hopefully change things.”

In order to initiate change, Limki stated that massive support from the public is needed.

“The movement is largely volunteer-based; and there is no centralized planning organization,” Limki said. “It requires a community effort.”

The next major statewide conference to continue the movement will take place on Oct. 30 and 31 at San Francisco State University. There, the coalition will vote on how to move forward the movement.

The conference is open to anyone who wishes to volunteer and take a larger active role in future demonstrations like March 4 and Oct. 7.

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