Bay Area students prepare for protests to defend higher education

Laney College students march to downtown Oakland

Nearly one year ago, students from throughout the country held sit-ins, protests and occupations as a part of the March 4, 2010 Day of Action to Defend Public Education.

On Wednesday, March 2, Bay Area students will again demonstrate their opposition to fee increases and budget cuts.

In San Francisco, students at SF State and City College plan to rally at Malcolm X plaza from 11-noon, followed by a picket at 12 on 19th street and a march to City College's Ocean Street campus. City College, which will have a Teach-In from 10am-2pm on March 1, will have a 2pm rally. The Mission campus of City College will rally at noon.

In the East Bay, students in the Peralta Community College District are convening at Laney College at noon for a rally. Laney College student body president Dawna Williams said, "It's time for students to wise up and rise up."

"This event is not about shouting at buildings and placing blame but about being in the know," said student body vice-president Brian Nelson.

After the noontime rally, students plan to march over to the Peralta District's offices. On October 7, 2010, after a Laney rally, about three dozen students spontaneously marched over to the District offices and briefly occupied the Chancellor's office, demanding to see trustees. Some Peralta College students are planning to march to UC Berkeley afterwards.

Cal students plan on having a noontime potluck, followed by a mass rally at 5pm at Memorial Glade at UC Berkeley. There are plans for a tent city and organizers said, "We're staying until our demands are met!" There have been mass arrests are UC Berkeley in recent years after the occupation of Wheeler Hall and of the UC Chancellor's office -- both incidents drastically exaggerated by mainstream media.

Students protest, shut down Oakland freeway for March 4 'Day of Action'

While there was a mass walkout -- not to mention the over 160 students arrested after walking onto an Oakland freeway while protesting -- on March 4, this year's rally does not have as much anticipation as last year. Some organizers believe that because there is a new Governor--Democrat Jerry Brown replaced the "Terminator," Arnold Schwarzenegger--more "moderate" students are not active.

"Jerry Brown is planning draconian budget cuts to education in California to resolve the state's budget crisis, writes "We have a different solution: Chop from the Top, and Tax the Rich!"

Others hope that students will be emboldened by recent protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Wisconsin, and demonstrate in solidarity with labor.

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