Rally Draws Crowd of 300

John Hanacek / Guardian

Chanting slogans such as “Another university is possible” and “They say cut back, we say fight back,” a crowd of about 300 students, faculty and professors gathered on Library Walk last Thursday to rally as part of the Oct. 7 Day of Action.

The protest against budget cuts, fee hikes and layoffs is a continuation of the March 4 rallies, which had more than 1,000 participants at UCSD alone.

“The main goal of this protest and rally is to [educate] a lot of first-years who are not familiar with the situation or the problems that our state is having in not prioritizing their education, and I think it’s going to expose them to that reality,” A.S. President Wafa Ben Hassine said.

The rally began with a walkout at 11:30 a.m., after which the protestors met outside Geisel Library to begin marching. The rally then moved toward the Chancellor’s Complex, where organizers shared personal anecdotes about the effects of the cuts to public education. Afterwards, student rappers, speakers and poets addressed the budget cuts through performances in front of Price Center.

At 5 p.m., the rally relocated to Balboa Park in San Diego to meet with protesters from San Diego State University, community colleges and some K-12 public schools. Similar rallies occurred in universities around the state, as well as universities like the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Overall, 26 different states nationwide had schools that participated in the rally.

UCSD Coalition for Education Justice organizer Josue Castellon said the different circumstances leading up to the March 4 and Oct. 7 rallies must be taken into consideration when judging the protest’s success.

“For the March 4 rally, we had a lot of time,” Castellon said. “The [racist] events that occurred also caused more people to show up. We had a lot of support, and about four months of time to prepare. [With only] two weeks to prepare for the Oct. 7 rally, I think having 300 students show up is a great success.”

At UCSD, a petition — now hanging at the Cross Cultural Center —was passed around demanding an open debate with administration to discuss fee hikes.

According to Castellon and speakers at the rally, the objective was not only to get the attention of the administration but also to educate the thousands of students and faculty on campus that didn’t show up at the rally about how the budget cuts affect them and others in the community.

Physics professor Adam Burgasser participated in the rally to discuss the necessity of making higher education more accessible to minorities.

“It frustrates me,” Burgasser said. “All the effort put into [giving] these students an education … and get a degree and then they are priced out of it.”

Burgasser said he is trying to diversify the faculty.

“I’m working on…identifying physics faculty of color that will come here and encourage students of color to come here and pursue the sciences, and we are having trouble with that,” he said.

Meanwhile, many students, though  aware of the rally, chose not to attend. Marshall College junior Jay Patel said that the rally was not publicized in a manner to make the cause evident.

“I felt that their argument was too broad, that they were trying to address too many issues — environmentalism, tuition increases, racism, the Afghanistan war — they don’t really have anything in common in my eyes, [so] there is no real point to going to a rally where there is going to be people addressing so many different issues,” Patel said.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$210
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$210
$500
Contributed
Our Goal