Monday, April 21, 2008

Students balk at proposed cuts

A small contingent of college students hit the streets yesterday, marching from Santa Barbara City College to City Hall to protest proposed state budget cuts to higher education.
Tom Fitzgerald, the SBCC student body president, called the proposed cutbacks severe and urged his fellow students to speak out against slashing funding to community colleges in California.

“We are here to say that is not the right place to make budget cuts,” he said. “…Each one of you makes that voice a little bit stronger.”
As the state enters its budget cycle, on the table is a proposal to drop $403.5 million from community college funding, Fitzgerald said.
“That is an insane amount of money,” he said, adding that it will translate into 50,000 students not being able to afford to attend a community college.
Along with a handful of SBCC students, a group from the College of the Canyons made the trip to Santa Barbara for the rally and march, wearing shirts proclaiming “Access Denied!”
Many City College students toted signs reading Yes on Measure V, a $77.2 million bond issue to fund building renovations, equipment upgrades, and disability access projects on the SBCC campus.
As they set off toward City Hall, Carina Vega, the local representative of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, led a chant of “What do we need? Education! What do we want? Education! When do we want it? Now!”
The local protest marked a statewide outcry against proposed budget cuts yesterday, from San Diego to Eureka. Protesters said the proposed cutbacks would result in higher tuition, fewer courses, larger class sizes, and lower admission rates.

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