[vimeo width="690" height="466"]http://www.vimeo.com/4291436[/vimeo]
Drs. Susanne Jonas and Guillermo Delgado, UC Santa Cruz lecturers for 23 and 20 years respectively, are battling the university for their jobs.
On Wednesday, April 22, Jonas and Delgado joined various UCSC community members in Quarry Plaza to speak out against the university’s attempts to cut integral programs. The group then marched to Kerr Hall to redress executive vice chancellor David Kliger for his lack of transparency with regard to the budget cuts.
The rally largely consisted of supporters of the Latin American and Latino studies department, which Jonas and Delgado are affiliated with. Students also came out to support the community studies department, the Engaging Education (e2) program, and several student groups invested in protecting student services and university divestment.
Pickets, chants and a series of speeches conveyed the frustration felt by many of those in attendance. Cries of protest rang out, and many students staked their claim to the university, demanding the right to a voice.
John Williams, a third-year student and American studies major, led the first of several rounds of chants, challenging attendees to protest the budget deficiency.
“They say cutbacks,” Williams called. “We say fight back!” the crowd responded.
Even students pursuing studies in departments that are not in imminent danger came to show their support at the event.
“I’m here to try to protect the quality of the school,” said Joe Donavan, a fourth-year Cowell student majoring in sociology.
Lecturer Susanne Jonas, Williams, and student union assembly (SUA) president Victor Sanchez were also among those who took turns pleading through a megaphone for students and faculty to stand up to the university.
“Education is a fundamental human right for each one of us here today,” Sanchez said.
He proceeded to demand that each student and student organization take responsibility for educating themselves and each other about the budget crisis and the antics of the university administration.
Sanchez also criticized student media coverage for allegedly failing to prioritize campus issues. “Elephant seals are not as important as my student services,” he said.
Williams reminded attendees of their rights as students.
“UCSC is a public university,” he said. “Students are entitled to a voice and we will be heard.”