Students and teachers across California today are participating in a statewide day of action, aimed at raising awareness about the possible impact of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to slash $1.4 billion from higher education statewide.
The protests and pickets are being held at public school systems across the board, from the elementary level, to college.
At Sonoma State University, students this morning pitched tents outside Stevenson Hall, in what they’re calling a “campout for quality education.” Some came as early as 7 a.m. to protest, and they said they’re not leaving until as late as midnight.
“I’m out here because three programs are not on the budget for next fall — theSonoma State Star newspaper, the campus radio station [KUSN] and public relations,” said Kendall Fedor, a news editor for the newspaper. “We need to protest budget cuts and put pressure on President [Ruben] Arminana, who makes over $300,000 a year.”
Arminana’s salary is $291,179, according to the 2009-2010 Sonoma State University Expenditure Plan.
“As a student, it’s so hard to get classes already,” said Kelley Michelucci, a recent graduate who was camped out Wednesday. “The only way I graduated on time was by taking winter and summer classes. It’s very stressful.”
Susan Kashack, associate vice president for marketing and communications, said the university supports the day of action.
“The students here today are camped out to show how important higher education is,” Kashack said. “There are 8,000 students here and we want to make sure every student gets the education they deserve.”
“It’s important to the students, but also to the future of the state itself,” Kashack added.
Brown’s proposed budget, which projected a $25.4 billion state budget gap over the next 18 months, aims to cut state spending by $12.5 billion and temporarily extend several current taxes. , according to Kashack.
Bay City News contributed to this report.