Walk Out II marks another protest in a series of actions against the University’s proposed cuts to majors and programs around campus
A crowd of 150 protesters gathered in the Quarry Plaza on Wednesday, April 29th, for a second “Walk-Out” to voice outrage about projected budget cuts to the Community Studies major, language studies classes and other issues including rent and tuition increases.
Picket signs were plentiful, ranging in slogans from “Share the pain, make cuts at all levels” to “Sauvez les Langues!” (“Save the Languages” in French). A student standing on the large rocks in the middle of the Quarry held up a sign reading “My mom is getting laid off this week because of budget cuts.”
Maria Morris, a Spanish language lecturer, spoke at the rally, explaining that there will be a lecturer cut from every language class taught at UCSC, including three from Spanish department. She advocated to “cut from the top,” rather from the lecturers—she stated that she was living a $1,000 below poverty level in Santa Cruz.
After an hour of chants and speeches, the crowd took to streets and marched up Hagar Road and proceeded to block traffic, with a police car following slowly behind. As they were walking out, two cop cars blocked incoming traffic from Hagar Road near the Quarry Plaza.
Ken, a third-year plant studies student who declined to state his last name, rode a red bicycle that displayed a poster board of a guillotine. He explained that the poster was a call to stop budget cuts and criticize the administration’s strategies of allocating these cuts.
“It’s not a call for violence, it’s a call to chop from the top,” Ken said. “It expresses the anger of the students.”
As they continued on McLaughlin Drive past Science Hill, the campus looked strikingly scarce—lacking the usual hustle of buses, cars and students travelling between classes. Given that it was around 1:30pm, many students were in class. However, many school and city buses were absent since the police blocked off not only the East entrance but also traffic coming from the Westside, where McLaughlin and Heller Road intersect near Kresge College. in anticipation of the protest?
There were only a few cars, a Loop bus, and a 15 Laurel Bus on the top of Science Hill that were left temporarily immobile as the crowd walked through.
There was word that protesters were going to march to Clark Kerr Hall, the end point of their first Walk Out on April 22nd. However, protest organizer Dominic Prado said they abstained from going to Kerr Hall, stating that Engaging Education (e2), an education, outreach and retention program was meeting with Chancellor Blumenthal about their funding.
“We didn’t think it would beneficial to impede on their meeting,” said Prado, a third-year Community Studies student.
Instead the group continued through Science Hill, their voices getting louder as the voices echoed between the buildings. Funneling past Thimann lecture halls, they finally ended up at the Earth and Sciences building where they rallied at corner platform to take a break from the hike around campus.
Before reaching the quarry, the crowd gathered in front of Classroom Units 1 and 2, chanting “out of the classrooms, into the streets” as students from Multivariable Calculus were leaving class around 1:45pm. Finally, the group marched back up the hill and ended at the Humanities building around 2:30pm, ending with a chant of “si se puede,” or “yes we can.”
Omar Perez, a third-year Psychology major, was observing the protest outside the Humanities building after his Humanistic Psychology class. “California wants to cut budget for education, I don’t think it’s effective,” Perez said. “[The protest] brings the tensions to the principle, brings attention to the administration.”
Additional reporting Karolin Palmer-Picard.