A rally and march to the Governor’s San Diego office protesting cuts in college funding planned for Feb. 18 was cancelled at the site due to lack of support and participation.
The Education for All Coalition and Save Our Schools (SOS), distributed fliers and announced the event to be held in Balboa Park but were met with far more members of the San Diego Police Department than demonstrators.
Sidney Martinez, a leader in the pro-education movement, brought a megaphone to the protest and passed out literature concerning future anti-cut actions and political agenda to the few attendees.
“Last semester we could call a rally in a week,” Martinez said. “Students don’t have the same enthusiasm because they are not seeing immediate change in the budget. People need to understand that coming out to protest works. If people support change, (it) will happen.”
“All of our futures are affected,” said Kurt Wellman, a member of Education for All Coalition. “Students are apathetic. Unless people are directly in their face; they won’t get involved.”
Regarding an ultimate goal Martinez said, “I want to surround the building,” in reference to the governor’s office building on Front St. “We need to fill the streets and get them to talk. Politicians would listen for a change.”
There were four major budget cut protests held at City College during fall semester. On Sept. 9, 2009 a crowd estimated at 600 gathered on campus to show resistence against decreases for education expenditures in California’s budget.
One supporter, Cassandra Cress, was philosophical about the effect of cuts in education.
“Education is the root of everything. It’s like the third world; education leads to opportunities. If they take education, how will we learn?” she said.
Sigrid Hernandez, another student supporter, was one of the people who arrived ready to demonstrate. She said she decided to attend the protest because she has experienced first-hand how the budget has made class scheduling more difficult.
“Last semester I could get into classes, (this semester) I couldn’t get some of the classes I needed and crashing those classes was impossible,” said Hernandez.