Organizers of UC Santa Barbara’s second Million Student March expect a large turnout Thursday, when they plan to march across campus and show support for four demands, including a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers and free tuition at public colleges and universities.
This year’s march will respond directly to controversial chalk writings on campus in the last two weeks that have shown support for Donald Trump and disparaged immigrants and Muslims.
“At various locations along the path where chalkings were more specific, we will stop in order to have a speaker from those communities address the crowd, and march participants will write positive messages on chalk walls,” the organizers said in a statement.
The group had three demands in their November 2015 march at UCSB, which attracted more than 1,000 students. These demands were tuition-free public college and universities, cancellation of all student debt and a $15 per hour minimum wage for campus workers.
This year, the group is also demanding divestment from private prisons. The University of California divested $25 million from private prisons in December 2015 after pressure from the Afrikan Black Coalition, which represents black students at colleges and universities throughout California.
Some students claim that the UC’s estimated $425 million investment managed by Wells Fargo is indirectly supporting private prisons because Wells Fargo loans money to private prison companies.
Students will assemble at UCSB Library at noon and march to the Student Resource Building near Pardall Tunnel.
Phrases written in chalk in front of the SRB last week included “Obama is a Muslim,” “1 out of 4 women are not raped” and, under the Asian Resource Center, “currency is devalued.”
At an Associated Students Senate meeting Wednesday, Joseline Garcia, student advocate general and a third-year global studies and art double major, said the march would help students who felt “attacked” and that these students could “uplift themselves.”
“We’re not addressing political ideologies,” Garcia said. “A lot of students felt in negative ways about the campus climate we have. As student leaders, we should be there with them.”
A version of this story appeared on p. 5 of the Thursday, April 14, 2016 print edition of the Daily Nexus.