A dozen students protested Proposition 23 with a “die-in” yesterday at the Arbor.
To demonstrate their opposition for the legislation, the students sprawled on the ground, obstructing foot traffic for an hour. Today’s event was part of CALPIRG’s week-long campaign to encourage involvement in the upcoming elections.
If approved, the Prop. 23 will suspend Assembly Bill 32, which currently requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to pre-1990 levels by 2020, until California’s unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent and stays that low for a year.
Protester Steven Wilson, a fourth-year communication major, said today’s event was meant to surprise students.
“It brings a lot of attention to the issue at hand,” Wilson said. “I hope it’s something students remember when they vote, like a shock reference that says, ‘Oh, people were dying on campus because of Prop. 23.’”
CALPIRG campus organizer Cliff Whitlock, a UCSB alumnus, said the actions were meant to make students aware of the health threat the proposition poses.
“We knew it would be a good visibility event,” Whitlock said. “Institutions like health insurance companies and the American Lung Association are against it because the air pollution is so detrimental to health.”
Additionally, Whitlock said the proposition could prevent graduates from attaining jobs in the green business sector.
“A lot of students are looking to go on to work in green businesses and industries that would be shot down by Prop. 23,” Whitlock said. “It’s our future.”
Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board Chair Corie Radka, a fourth-year environmental studies and zoology major, said encouraging debate about Prop. 23 will promote discussion of politics as a whole.
“Hopefully, the campus will learn about the proposition and who it’s funded by,” Radka said. “But in a broader aspect, I want people to dig deeper and ask why this can happen — why Texas oil companies can come and get a proposition on California’s ballot. Propositions are supposed to be for people not satisfied with their government, not corporations with agendas.”
CALPIRG will also host a Clean Energy Carnival tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Student Resource Building lawn. Whitlock said the group hopes to gain the support of 8,000 UCSB students by the end of the week.