University of California students and community
members gathered in downtown Los Angeles to rally
against further proposed budget cuts to higher education
Students from UCSB, UC Los Angeles, UC Santa
Cruz and UC San Diego banded together near the
Ronald Reagan State Office building to protest the
$500 million in cuts to the UC system in Governor
Jerry Brown’s proposed 2011-12 state budget and to
advocate for the D.R.E.A.M. Act. The group carried
signs bearing slogans like “Chop from the top,” “Don’t
raise our fees” and “Pass the D.R.E.A.M. Act,” while
musical guests Rob Roy, Trek Life and Thurz — half
of L.A. hip hop duo U-N-I — performed for the crowd
free of charge.
The rally followed Wednesday’s Day of Class Action,
a series of rallies and teach-ins at 23 different California
State University campuses protesting the proposed cuts.
Annual CSU tuition is set to increase by 10 percent this
UCLA student organizer and third-year theater major
Veline Mojarro said she was excited to see local residents
join students in protest, though the crowd reached only
roughly 50 supporters.
“There’s a lot of great community support — it makes
me really happy to see,” Mojarro said. “The turnout was
about what I expected, but you always hope for more.”
UCSB fourth-year Spanish and Chican@ studies
major Jaret Ornelas said students must demand financial
accountability from state officials including UC administrators
accused of accepting gifts from lobbyists.
As a graduating senior, Ornelas said he is nervous to
see where the UC system is headed but has faith that his
peers’ legacy of activism will serve as a model for current
and future students.
“Fees have gone up 50 percent or more since I was
a freshman,” Ornelas said. “I’m glad I came out; this is
important. [The future] looks hopeful — the younger
classes are going to do awesome things.”
UCSB Coalition organizer Quinn Nguyen, a fourthyear
global studies and political science major, said the
event aimed to bring students’ demands directly to those
responsible for the proposed cuts.
“The whole point is that Governor Brown is right here
— we’re physically in front of him, so there’s pressure,”
UCSB’s A.S. Student Lobby member Terri Luna, a
second-year sociology major, said the group attended the
rally to promote local-level advocacy for student rights.
“We are focusing on accessibility and affordability for
higher education,” Luna said.
According to Nguyen, the rally’s free concert energized
the crowd and kept protesters passionate throughout the
“Usually we don’t have live bands, but we wanted to
stay creative,” Nguyen said.
Mojarro said the goal of the event was to implore the
government to find ways to aid California universities
despite the state’s lack of resources.
“We want the government to focus a little bit more on
our students and less on criminalizing them,” Mojarro said.