Hundreds rally to protest cuts

Ernesto Lopez and Olivia Holt


Nearly 600 students, professors and other San Diego Community College District employees rallied on Sept. 9 at City College to protest state budget cuts on education.

“I was stoked when I saw all the students (at the rally), in the past its been hard to get students out to rally but there was no shortage of students (this time),” David Campbell, associated student president, said of the protest.
Students from City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges united and voiced their frustrations in hopes that legislators will listen and take measures to stop the elimination of classes and reduced funding in student services.

“We’ve got to send a strong message to the Governor and to the legislature that the highest priority in the state; the greatest cause of government is education,” Terry Burgess, City College President, told the crowd.

The San Diego Community College District was required to cut $30 million dollars in spending this school year, resulting in 400 classes not being offered.

“We’re that bridge to four-year universities. It’s really crucial for us to get specific courses for our particular major or trade and being that we’re having so many cuts, it’s becoming difficult to do so,” Byron Dunn, Communication student who attended the rally.

Student Senate for California Community Colleges public officer Josef Shannon agrees with Dunn’s statement.

“This budget is cutting down California’s future,” Shannon said. “Instead of building in professional development, we’re cutting growth, our future and our future leaders. (We) have to fight for this, cause once it’s cut, it’s hard to get back.”

Shannon is planning a march on Sept. 30 to protest the cuts beginning at City College and stopping at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office at 1350 Front Ave. in downtown San Diego.

According to Burgess, by 2025, California will need six percent more working-age adults with a bachelor’s degree, and with 59 classes at SDCCD having wait lists, students will take much longer to complete their education.

“There will be one million people without college degrees that we need, and we’re not investing in it,” Burgess said. “We’re saying (to students), ‘no sorry, no room at the end.'”

Joel Andrews, an electronics student at the rally, said, “I almost didn’t make it to school this semester, because I was put on a waiting-list. Luckily, I got through.”
The rally, organized by the student body government, is a clear indicator that students are not relying on chance to decide the outcome of their future.
“The goal of the rally was to make an impact visually, to let Sacramento know that in Southern California colleges, we won’t tolerate the budget cuts,” Campbell said about the rally. “I think we got heard; we started something. Other community colleges are planning their own rally.”

Students in the Radio and Television programs plan to make a DVD from the testimonials of students and clips from the rally. Some of the student body government will fly to Sacramento and personally hand Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger the DVD along with a giant petition signed by students demanding an end to cuts on education.