After months of posters plastered over signposts, chalk on sidewalk, and graffiti on walls, March 1 is almost here.
The March 1 protest will be a lead-up to the March 5 protest in Sacramento, which aims to give students the opportunity to lobby against cuts to higher education and lobby for tax initiatives to prevent those cuts.
Noah Miska, one of the many UCSC General Assembly members organizing the protest, said collaboration would be the key to the event’s success.
“[It is about] focusing energy from the Occupy movement into a series of mass mobilizations to push for the re-funding of social services in California,” Miska said.
The March 1 protest has attracted international attention as well.
“March 1 has snowballed into an international day of action, with reports of solidarity actions being organized as far away as Korea and Sudan,” Miska said. “The biggest teachers’ union in the UK, representing some 200,000 instructors, is also going on strike for March 1.”
Protesters at UC Santa Cruz intend to block the entrances to the campus and erect a university of tents at the base of campus. There will be food, discussions and activities like workshops and skill-shares, throughout the day.
Miska ties the “tent university” to the Occupy movement.
“The tents are partly for shelter and partly symbolic of the connection between the UC budget crisis and the socioeconomic inequality highlighted by the Occupy movement,” Miska said. “The budget crisis is a result of the fact that this university is managed by and for the 1 percent. What would a university run by and for the 99 percent look like? The tent university is an opportunity to begin finding answers to that question.”
Protesters plan to block campus entrances and let only essential personnel like medical staff and emergency vehicles past in hopes of shutting down UCSC.
Miska said a large act of protest like shutting down campus for a day really captures people’s attention.
“When we do big things, they hear about it,” Miska said. “If the first is big, the fifth will be bigger. We feed each other’s fires.”
While the planned protest has gotten significant attention, some students are apathetic about the protest.
“My favorite thing about these kinds of protests is that I get to stay home and sleep really late,” said Zach Hammond, a third-year Porter student.
“Even if I still have class, I’m not such a dedicated student that I will walk up two miles of hills with no buses,” he said.
Some feel that the Day of Action won’t draw enough attention.
“Nobody gives a fuck about our fees,” said second-year Sheila Allen-Cooley.
Despite this, Allen-Cooley said students need to protest against the tuition hikes caused in part by these state budget cuts.
“If I wanted to pay this amount of money, I would’ve gone to a private college,” Allen-Cooley said. “I think it is rude of them to charge for classes when I feel like I have to teach myself.”
Miska doesn’t anticipate police action on March 1 as long as protesters do what they say they will. For students who want to get involved and stand against tuition hikes and budget cuts, all you have to do is show up, Miska said.
“It’s going to be an epic day,” he said.