Helicopters buzzed in the air and traffic stalled in Berkeley and Oakland as about 1,000 demonstrators marched down Telegraph Avenue to their destination, Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland, where they were to meet up with others. The rallies and protests in the Bay Area on Thursday were part of a statewide “Day of Action” over education cuts.
At the University of California, Santa Cruz, school officials warned people not to try to drive to the campus. One car reportedly had its window smashed with a driver inside. At San Francisco State University, 25 protesters pushing Dumpsters blocked people from entering the business building.
“Our students thought it was going to be a protest, not a blockage,” said Nancy K. Hayes, dean of the college of business. “They are concerned for their safety. They’re not M.B.A. students, they’re undergrads and they’re young and they’re scared.”
Jamal Jones, a senior who was protesting, said: “The C.S.U.’s and city colleges, institutions for working people, are becoming privatized. It’s a slap in the face for working people.”
Mark Yudof, president of the University of California, released a statement, saying: “My heart and my support are with everybody and anybody who wants to stand up for public education. Public education drives a society’s ability to progress and to prosper.”
At Frank Ogawa Plaza, high school and community college students were the first there.
Kimberly Gozman, 16, a junior at Fremont Federation of College Preparatory High, was the first student to speak. Her parents are immigrants from Guerrero, Mexico, but she was born in the United States. She is set to be the first person in her family to graduate from high school. A possible school closure will mean that instead of having 30 students per class, there will be 40, she said.
Jean Quan, a member of the Oakland City Council, took photos at the center of the demonstration near the speakers. She said her family was poor and would “never be able to afford to send me to college.” She added, “Berkeley’s tuition, when I went to school, was so low.”
Earlier Thursday, we described the beginnings of the protest and the demonstrators’ plans for the day.
Kyra Jeter and Anecia Trujillo, eighth graders at Claremont Middle School in Oakland, joined in a disaster drill on Thursday morning.
Demonstrations and rallies have begun around the state to protest budget cuts in public education.
The original plan for the protests was for caravans of people to head to Sacramento. Instead, most of the demonstrations are being held in cities around the state.
On Thursday morning, many Bay Area public schools have had disaster drills to draw attention to the “disastrous” state budget cuts. At the University of California, Santa Cruz, officials are advising employees and others to stay away from the campus with protests at the two entrances.
Some are participating in the day of protests without leaving school grounds. At the second recess at Peralta Elementary School in Oakland, the school’s music teacher will lead families, students and teachers in protest songs. At Claremont Middle School, also in Oakland, Jesse Thaler, an eighth-grade English teacher, is using the demonstrations to prompt a creative-writing exercise about the future of education. “What if there were no budget cuts and you were in charge of designing a middle school, with no limits on what you could do,” she wrote on the blackboard.
Check back here for updates through the day.
There will be a rally from noon to 4 p.m. at Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. After that, some participants plan to head to San Francisco, where a rally is scheduled for 5 p.m. A rock band called the Angry Tired Teachers is scheduled to play.
Walkouts in the morning have been scheduled at most institutions, including disaster drills. On Wednesday, the University of California, Berkeley, mailed students a note on how to behave around police officers, which includes advice like, “If a police officer tells you to do something, do it — even if you think the officer shouldn’t be asking.”
Here are further details of plans for Thursday in the Bay Area:
A march by students, parents and staff of San Francisco’s El Dorado Elementary School at 70 Delta Street.
At San Francisco State University, there will be a noon rally at Malcolm X plaza.
An assembly and march at 11 a.m. at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland.
Laney College students plan to walk out of classes at 11 a.m.
Cal State East Bay will have a “Walkout to Speak-out,” encouraging students and faculty to walk out of classrooms at 11 a.m. for live performances and an open mic before handing in a letter of demands at the campus administration building and heading to San Francisco’s Civic Center at 5 p.m.
An assembly and walkout is planned at Chabot Junior College in Hayward.
University of California, Berkeley, demonstrators plan to host a rally at noon at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue before marching to Oakland.
Berkeley Community College has scheduled a rally in the Berkeley Community College atrium, with an “anti-budget-cut” rap performance and music. The demonstrators also plan to end up at the San Francisco Civic Center rally at 5 p.m.
Assemblyman Joe Coto, Democrat of San Jose, is scheduled to attend a 4 p.m. rally by members of San Jose’s East Side Teachers Association.
Anyone have protests going on their campus today? I led one on my campus. They are talking about cutting NURSING, DRAMA, CONTINUING EDUCATION and MBA programs you can see my campus protest HERE (if anyone knows how to snag video from this site I'd really like a copy for myself lol)