Students Rally on National Day of Action

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    Students and faculty come out in large numbers to show their support for the National Day of Action. Photo by Molly Solomon.

    Zombie attendees warn rally supporters that budget cuts mean campus brain shortage. Photo by Molly Solomon.

    Approximately 200 demonstrators gathered in Quarry Plaza at the UCSC campus today for a rally as a part of the national day of action for education.

    While protests at UC Davis and UC Berkeley resulted in sit-ins, the protest on the UCSC campus did not incite further action beyond the rally. However, participants were encouraged to attend a evening rally at the clock tower in downtown Santa Cruz.

    The crowd consisting of students, faculty, staff and representatives from Coalition of University Employees (CUE), University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE), United Auto Workers (UAW) and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) gathered from noon to 1 p.m. for the protest.

    In the past year there have been several actions on campuses across the UC system, including a strike March 4, 2010 in response to the education budget crisis and lay-off and increase student fees.

    In an attempt to raise participation, the group tried a new strategy to reach out to students, said graduate student and UAW representative Brian Malone.

    “I’d like to see 200 [participants], but I’d love to see 10,000,” he said. “This morning’s outreach was different from march fourth, today we tried a creative tactics.”

    To rally participants, demonstrators dressed as zombies circled campus, walked in on morning classes to encourage students to attend the noon rally.

    Rally participants spoke to the crowd on issues including the economic crisis, student fees, lay-offs, administrative salaries, reduction to academic programs, the importance of voting and the repeal of the Dream Act.

    The actions also included theatrical demonstrations such as a satirical pie-eating contest meant to be a critique of the budget priorities within the UC system.

    At the demonstration, UCSC worker and AFSCME member Nicholas Gutierrez rallied the crowd with a cry for direct action.

    “We pay taxes and you know what that means? It means that this university and the other nine, they’re fucking ours,” Gutierrez said “Fuck mañana take it back today.”