RETURN OF CAMPUS PROTESTS COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS ANGRY OVER WAR, BUDGET CUTS.
Byline: Lisa M. Sodders Staff Writer
They've held campus rallies, marched on downtown Los Angeles Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, located close to the geographic center of the metropolitan area. The sprawling, multi-centered megacity is such that its downtown core is often considered just another district like Hollywood or and ridden buses for hours to the state Capitol to voice their displeasure over threatened state budget cuts to California's community colleges.
The college activism that marked the 1960s has resurfaced on San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. community college campuses, with its main target being Gov. Gray Davis' proposed budget cuts to higher education.
``You have awakened a small community of giants,'' said Samvel Kbushyan, 23, of Valley Glen, president of the Associated Students Union at Los Angeles Valley College LAVC redirects here. For the software library, see libavcodec.
The university is adjacent to Grant High School. Often called "Valley College" or simply "Valley" by those who frequent the campus, it opened its doors to the public on September 12, 1949, at which time the campus was .
Last month, nearly 10,000 community college students rallied in Sacramento against the proposed cuts and about 4,000 participated in a budget protest in Pershing Square downtown.
``In my 24 years, I've never seen anything like it,'' said Patrick McCallum, a lobbyist for the Los Angeles Community College District The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) is the community college district serving Los Angeles, California and some of its neighboring cities. In addition to typical college aged students, the LACCD also serves adults of all ages. and other systems, who has been involved with the Legislature and higher education issues since 1979.
``For them, they feel like they're fighting for their future: 'If I don't get an education, I don't have a future.' It's visceral; it's personal for them.''
Davis has proposed cutting $530 million from California's community colleges and doubling fees from $11 to $24 per credit hour.
The Los Angeles Community College District is facing nearly $21 million in state cuts. Trustees have already cut classes 10 percent and warned of possible administrative furloughs.
Jessica Salazar, a Valley College student and an organizer of the Pershing Square rally, said students fear the worst is yet to come.
``At Valley, we have 14 percent fewer classes this spring than last spring,'' the 20-year-old Sylmar resident said. ``It's not just a threat; it's a reality.''
Of $5.4 billion in total cuts to public education, the state's 108 community colleges would lose $530 million compared with $299 million in cuts to the eight-campus University of California The University of California has a combined student body of more than 191,000 students, over 1,340,000 living alumni, and a combined systemwide and campus endowment of just over $7.3 billion (8th largest in the United States). system and $260 million in reductions to the 23-campus California State University system California State University System, coordinating agency established in 1960 by the merger of individual California state colleges, now consisting of 23 campuses. .
``Whenever you feel like you're being picked on, you get mad,'' said community college trustee Warren Furutani. ``They're going to be paying so much more and getting so much less - it's motivated them.''
But can protests and postcards make a difference when the state is facing a $35 billion deficit?
``With 2 million agitated ag·i·tate
v. ag·i·tat·ed, ag·i·tat·ing, ag·i·tates
1. To cause to move with violence or sudden force.
2. students, it's creating a tension both in the administration and among the Legislature that normally you wouldn't see,'' said McCallum, the lobbyist. ``If they're successful, they will not only have protected their own personal education, but (that of) their brothers and sisters.''
Lizeth Moro, right, a student at California State University, Northridge CSUN offers a variety of programs leading to bachelor's degrees in 61 fields and master's degrees in 42 fields. The university has over 150,000 alumni. It's also home to a summer musical theater/theater program known as TADW (TeenAge Drama Workshop) that leads teenagers through an , joins a rally against both the war in Iraq and cuts from her college's budget. The event was held at CSUN CSUN California State University Northridge by its chapter of the California Faculty Association.
Evan Yee/Staff Photographer