Students storm Sacramento over fee increases

Thousands of community college students from across California descended upon the capital building in Sacramento to protest the impending tuition hike being placed before them by the governor, on March 15. The proposed hike would increase the current amount of $18 per unit to $26 per unit, a 44 percent increase.Of the more than 8,000 participants, 90 students from Skyline College were compelled to head to campus at 7:00 a.m. to be involved in something more valued than sleeping in-their education. During a Teach-In on March 10, the week prior to the event, Skyline teachers and students worked together to bring the March on Sacramento to the attention of the students, and to get as many people to participate as possible.”There’s a lot of support for the community colleges in the democratic representative,” said Associated Students of Skyline College President Tanya Johnson. “The minority vote [in the state] is Republican, and with 48 Democrats in the assembly in favor of not instating the budget cuts, that leaves only six republicans needed to vote against them to keep them from happening.” Although Gov. Schwarzenegger did not make an appearance at the event, Johnson, along with fellow ASSC members Ilka Barcala, and Geneva Jones met with local Assemblyman Gene Mullin to speak to him about his thoughts on the budget cuts. According to Johnson, Mullin said that he is indeed in favor of keeping the fees down, and supports not going through with any other budget cuts.Amidst demands for Gov. Schwarzenegger to show his face, people giving pep speeches to the disgruntled onlookers, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante made an appearance in support of the students, as he did last year. Overall, the day appeared to be a success. Among the different forms of protesting, the most predominate appeared to be screaming. From chants like, “Move Arnold! Get out the way!” to “What do we want? Education! When do we want it? Now!” The state’s community college students used their powerful lungs to send out their message of dissent. The overall intensity of the event could be felt in the air, as music was played from every direction and people spiritedly waved homemade banners. Most people wore shirts made by their schools to send a message, with the exception of one man who simply wore body paint with anti-budget cuts slogans across his chest.”I thought it was interesting seeing all the different races come together as one and fight for what they believe in,” Skyline student Franco Cerella said, when asked what he thought about the protest.