RCC students join in state budget cut protests

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By Dora Yrigoyen / Asst. News Editor

RCC students fight back (Jasmeet Singh / Photo Editor)

By Dora Yrigoyen / Asst. News Editor

Frustrated students, teachers, and organizations gathered together on March 2 in downtown Riverside to protest Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to cut $1.4 billion in higher education.

In The Press Enterprise article “Students protest proposed education cuts,” by David Olson and Janet Zimmerman, “a few hundred people rallied in downtown Riverside, UC Riverside, Riverside City College, and San Bernardino Valley College to call for a with drawl of the proposed cuts and support Brown’s plan for $12 billion in tax and fee increases and extensions though a planned June voter initiative.”

Ian Clemente, a Riverside City College student and member of the Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club, hopes that the rally will help promote awareness about the budget cuts and how it would affect not only our future but the future of generations after us.

“I am extremely honored to be a part of the rally,” Clemente said.

For Riverside City College, the rally started in front of the Martin Luther King Building, where student speakers voiced their opinions on the budget cuts. The group then walked down to downtown Riverside shopping center. Once there, the students from different colleges met up as one to show their support against the budget cuts. Among the student speakers from UC Riverside and Riverside City College, ex-congress candidate Bill Hendrix spoke out against the budget cuts.

In The Press Enterprise’s online article, Hendricks believes that “the cuts and tuition hikes threaten equal opportunity and equal access to education.”

Speeches and rallies, like the protest on March 2, are just the beginning. Maximo Raya of the Riverside City College believes, “when you have a rally, it is to bring attention to an issue.”

“Getting people rallied up about and excited about the issue,” Raya said is one of the accomplishments he hopes to have happened through the rally.

Despite the silver lining the protests bring, other students  still  fear the budget cuts will limit the classes available and that the cost of attending college will not allow them to continue.

Daniel Burrus of San Bernardino says in the Press Enterprise article that if financial aid is lost due to budget cuts, returning to school in the fall semester will not be an option.

Nevertheless, students refuse to give up hope.

Eddie Brito of Riverside City College and a member of S.A.F.E, says, “Protests are just a tool.” Brito and other students from different clubs and organizations have formed a “No to Budget Cuts Coalition”.

The Coalition has weekly meetings where they discuss the budget cuts and come up with new ways to get the student body informed and involved. The meetings are every Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Student Government conference room.

There are more protests in the making and student forums to help inform the students. Another “Day of Action” will be taking place on March 14 and 15; students will march in Sacramento protesting budget cuts and promoting the CA Dream Act. To find out more about the Dream Act and other ways to get involved an AB540 Forum will be taking place March 15 at 1 p.m. in front of the Martin Luther King building, at RCC.

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