A group of students from various on-campus organizations plan to walk out of classes today in protest of President Bush’s second inauguration.
The event calls for a noon walk out from classes and meet at the Arbor, where students will march to Storke Plaza to rally against Bush administration policies and legislation. Student organizers have also planned for several guest speakers from different academic departments to speak at the rally, as well as a series of alternative workshops and classes to be held afterward.
Although no one particular student organization is in charge of organizing the rally, fourth-year communication and sociology major Ashley Chapman and second-year women’s studies major Tanya Paperny said that they helped coordinate the rally after receiving information about the national walkout from students in Washington, D.C. Chapman said that there are a number of reasons for the rally.
“First, is for students to stay in solidarity; second, to oppose Bush’s major policies and legislation; and lastly, to provide a chance for students to build coalitions and campaigns for the future,” Chapman said.
Speakers at the rally will focus on the increased cost of higher education, environmental protection, gay marriage, war, troops and their deployment, U.S. involvement in foreign affairs, and women’s rights. Rally speakers will include Grace Chang of the Women’s Studies Dept., Elizabeth Robinson of KCSB and others to be announced at the rally.
Alternative workshops and classes will also be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Lobero and Santa Barbara Mission rooms in the UCen as well as at the MultiCultural Center. Francisco Arambula, a fourth-year business economics major, said all students are welcome to participate and learn more about policy issues at the rally and workshops.
“I want students from UCSB to realize that not everyone agrees with Bush’s agenda,” Arambula said.
Arambula and a group of 20 students spent Friday afternoon making posters and banners and planning speakers and publicity for the event.
Paperny said that although they had no real way to estimate the attendance at the rally, it could range from 100 to 300 people. Organizers said that they are hopeful that students will not be intimidated with the potential repercussions of walking out of class and will choose to participate in the rally and post-rally events.
“We hope to generate an e-mail to campus departments asking not necessarily for professors to allow the walkout, but to encourage students who wish to participate, or maybe even incorporate [the rally] into their lectures,” said Katie Maynard, a fourth-year College of Creative Studies biology major. “Although many professors may be opposed to class walkouts, I think that in general, professors love that we’re getting active. I think that this is what the university is geared toward: getting active in our education.”