Chanting slogans such as “education is a right, not just for the rich and white” and “we’re students united; we’ll never be divided,” a group of about 200 students rallied Friday in Corwin Pavilion and then marched on to Cheadle Hall in support of funding for outreach programs.
The group, lead by Associated Students External Vice President for Statewide Affairs Jewel Love, carried signs such as “Fuck Arnold, Save Outreach” and “Where’s Our Money Going? Iraq.”
The event was organized in protest of last Tuesday’s budget agreement between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, UC President Robert Dynes and CSU Chancellor Charles Reed. Under the agreement, only $4 million from non-California resident tuition and $8 million from other resources will be used to fund UC outreach programs. Last year, UC outreach programs received $33 million from the state, $2 million of which was allocated to UCSB programs.
Outreach program staff aid high school students from minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to seek UC admission.
“We all hear that the chancellor is very willing to support outreach,” Love said on a bullhorn in front of Cheadle Hall. “We’re here to ensure that all of outreach is funded for this year and next year.”
UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang met the crowd at Cheadle Hall’s entrance, where Love presented Yang with a petition asking him to give next year’s and following years’ outreach programs the same amount of money allocated in 2003-2004. The petition also stated that Yang would use state and private money to maintain the current level of funding allotted to outreach.
Students in the crowd called out for Yang to sign the petition to show his support of outreach.
“You told us a lot of times that you support us, and now we’re asking you to show it by signing it,” said Cordaun Dudley, a rally participant.
Students handed a bullhorn to Yang, who said he supports outreach and feels just as strongly as the marchers.
“Outreach is very important for the university and I’ve given it the highest priority,” Yang said. “I’ve worked with the Legislature, the governor and Sacramento. I will continue to work with all of my ability.”
After “I, Chancellor Yang, do hereby agree to:” was changed to “I, Chancellor Yang, do hereby agree to the following positions,” and a clause requiring Yang to take full responsibility for acquiring supplemental outreach funds was deleted, Yang signed the petition amidst cheers from the crowd of students.
“It was an amazing victory for students,” Love said after the signing.
The rally started in Corwin Pavilion, where Yang was scheduled to have lunch with the UCSB Foundation Trustees’ Executive Committee, the fund-raising arm of the university.
“Today is the day the chancellor is kissing someone else’s butt,” Love said to the crowd, referring to lunch with the trustees.
As they marched and chanted from the pavilion to Cheadle Hall, prospective students on a guided tour of the campus with their parents watched from the sidelines. Some of the other chants included, “What do we want? Outreach! When do we want it? Now,” “Whose University? Our University,” and “Schools, not jails. Books, not bombs.”
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Yonie Harris were also on hand for the event.
“The students are taking the opportunity to voice their support for outreach,” Harris said. “We benefit from hearing that, and I think that there is no one who disagrees with it.”
Young said he supports outreach, but that the allocation of university funds, however, is a shared process.
“There are other voices involved in making decisions of the future of the university,” Young said. “Such decisions have to be made in that context.”