Photo by Alessandro Tinonga
|"When you go and try to access the library on Saturdays, it’s closed. When you try to get into a class, they’re closed. Our district administration knew these budget cuts were coming from the state and they gave themselves half a million dollars in raises."|
Over 500 Laney College students, faculty and staff walked out of class on the March 4 “Day of Action” to protest cuts to education funding.
During a rally on campus, students, faculty and staff held signs reading “Schools not Jails, Schools not Wars!,” “No privatization” and “Education saves lives.”
Sara Connors, labor representative of the Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT), the union that represents faculty, said the recent cuts showed a “crisis of priorities.”
"When you go and try to access the library on Saturdays, it’s closed. When you try to get into a class, they’re closed,” Connors said. “Our district administration knew these budget cuts were coming from the state and they gave themselves half a million dollars in raises.”
Laney College student performs "Chop from the Top."
“They need to chop from the top, cut the Board and administration,” Shaw rapped. “Chop from the top, don’t limit my education.”
Louis Quindlen with Machine Technology Dept. said that one semester at Laney College now costs more than a year at UC Berkeley when he attended.
Faculty purchased $600 worth of BART tickets for students who wanted to travel to the rally in San Francisco at Civic Center.
“It’s wrong that prisons are California’s only growth industry,” Quindlen said. “We need to be investing in education, because you are California’s future.”
Alpha Lamba Fraternity VP Representative Dawna Williams, who co-emceed the event with ASLC Senator Brandy Smith, said the rally was not just a one day event.
Oakland, Laney College students protest budget cuts and financial aid delays
Video courtesy of BlockReportNews
“EOPS is suffering 50 per cent cuts, 50 percent cuts at DSPS. No childcare at College of Alameda,” Williams said, referring to the COA Children’s Center, which is slated to be closed. “Is Laney College Childcare next?”
|EOPS is suffering 50 per cent cuts, 50 percent cuts at DSPS. No childcare at College of Alameda. Is Laney College Childcare next?"|
Some confusion ensued after a group of about thirty students broke off mid-rally and hiked up the stairs to the Financial Aid office.
“It’s time to take some real action,” Laney College student Alexandra Hernandez said prior to the group storming the Tower administration building. The group carried a banner while chanting, “Financial Aid Now!” on the second floor hallway.
ASLC Senator Leonard Hutton encouraged students to sign up for the March 22 march at the state capitol. Students from throughout the state will march in Sacramento, rally on the capitol steps, then go meet with legislators.
"If you want the state to hear our plea, you have to show up,” Hutton said. “Let them know, education is a right."
The planned march to Oakland City Hall, to join a larger rally, started earlier than publicized. Hundreds walked towards downtown Oakland. The group marched past the Alameda County Superior Courthouse, a symbolic gesture in a state that pays more to incarcerate people than it does to educate them, organizers said.
At 14th and Oak St, the Laney College was joined by a group of Oakland high school students, and together, marched to Broadway.