Thursday marked the third day in a week-long action to protest cuts to community studies, ethnic resource centers and Latin America and Latino Studies (LALS) professors.
At the base of campus, the crowd of protestors seemed have thinned, but those in attendance played guitar, listened to music, and exchanged ideas. Several students and community members spoke, and the NewUC Coalition made their mission statement to fight privatization loud and clear.
“Our goal is to fight against the corporatization of the University of California in general,” said Andy Miller a media representative for the NewUC coalition over the solar-powered stereo system to a crowded audience.
Nik Janos, a member of the NewUC, said their immediate goal was to fight the budget cuts at UC Santa Cruz and to eventually shift the university’s funding priorities “away from those that are going to generate money in the economy towards programs in the sciences and the social sciences that are going to better human society.” He said the coalition is fighting against “university corportization,” which refers to the increase of university funding from private corporations.
“When its left up to private funders to what they think is important then it means other departments aren’t going to get [money],” said Janos, a sociology graduate student. “They are turning the university into a system by which the allocation of resources is along the lines of what is going to be best for capitalism and corporations and not what’s going to be best for human development, education and community development.”
Along with the NewUC, organizers from a variety of causes found common ground at the rally. Students from the Coalition to Save Community Studies noted that while the administrative staff of their department has been preserved, the field study coordinators still run the risk of being cut.
Also in attendance were residents from Family Student Housing opposed rent hikes, while members from Students of Color Collective (SOCC) brought attention to the defunding of departments and resource centers that promote diversity. SOCC was also responsible for launching the week-long protest.
Ricky Quesnot, an SOCC member who spoke at the rally, was taking part in a hunger strike to raise awareness about the budget cuts affecting students of color. He appreciated the support from other organizations and students.
“Its just the beginning. There is a lot of work to be done,” Quesnot said. “Thank you for your presence thank you for being here. It’s helping me keep going as a hunger striker.”