The Yuba College cafeteria was bustling Wednesday Febuary 19 at noon, as a multitude of students poured in for a rally against Governor Gray Davis’ proposed tax cuts. The rally consisted of speakers making their voices heard on the subject of the budget cuts, as well as a table by the entrance where students could send a unified letter to their Assemblymen and Senators about their stance on the cuts.
“These are general letters to our legislators to ask about the budget cuts and the dramatic impact they will have on students,” said Janelle Eichler, a Yuba College student and employee who assisted in the letter campaign. “We’re encouraging students to have their voices heard.”
Jim Prager, Yuba College instructor and coordinator of the College Success Center, moderated the rally.
“The purpose of today’s rally is for a group of students to show concern over the impact of Davis’ budget cuts on students at Yuba College as well as other Community Colleges,” said Prager.
The speakers were a diverse mix of the people of Yuba College. Faculty members, Liberal Arts majors, Engineering majors and Physical Education majors alike made their voices heard on the subject.
Among the topics discussed were Davis’ plan to cut $1 billion from the state’s Community Colleges in the next 18 months, the plan for Yuba College to cut 28 percent of its budget to meet the requirements of the proposed cuts, the proposed increase in Community College tuition from $11 to $24 and the possibility of many school programs disappearing as a result of the cuts.
“The EOPS will be cut either totally or by 45 percent,” said student speaker Mari Terrones. “Students may not be able to afford a higher education. Many students can be apathetic, but we must be one voice and tell Davis that we won’t stand for it. He’s willing to destroy our lives in order to make the budget.”
Heather Kirkpatrick, a Physical Education major, spoke at the rally. “When Davis was campaigning, he said education was his first, second, and third priority. Now, he’s taking money from education and giving it to correctional facilities.”
Kirkpatrick also pointed out that correctional facilities gave Governor Davis $1.2 million during his campaign, and have given him $1.5 million since. The corrections officers will see a 30 percent increase in pay.
Yuba College instructor David Rubiales reminded us of our forefathers’ commitment to education.
“Yuba College is a very special place because of our ideals. These enduring ideals were shared with Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson said that no matter the circumstances, Americans have the right to education funded by the state. Unfortunately, today our system is in jeopardy.”
Rubiales made the point that it’s up to the students to save the college. “They won’t listen to the faculty, they’ll think we’re only concerned about our jobs. Students can lose their future.”
Rubiales then mentioned a bus trip to Sacramento for a rally on March 17. “When we knock on the Assemblymen’s door, I want you to be there with me.”
Students can sign up for the bus trip at the front desk of the College Success Center.