Recently, the state of California has cut funding for all its campuses, including California State University Northridge. Because of this, CSUN students are unable to get the classes they need to graduate. So, as at many other campuses all over California, students held a protest on March 4th. Hundreds of students showed up chanting "Wake up! Walkout!" The protest lasted for hours.
Costs have gone up for all students and teachers were given pay cuts. Teachers were told to take furloughs, a fancy word for cutting a day of class. Many students feel that furloughs are unfair, because they pay money to get an education and now there is less class time to learn the material.
The walkout took place throughout the campus. The protesters were seen in different buildings, such as Manzanita Hall (which houses journalism and film related classes), Sierra Hall (mainly geography and psychology), Jerome Richfield (mainly languages and philosophy), the Oviatt Library, and at the corner of Reseda and Nordhoff.
They shouted things like "Make some noise for education," "You should be annoyed [at the state government]. You should be pissed off," and "They say furlough! We say Hell no!" They held signs expressing their anger. Police accompanied the protesters, but did not stop them.
Some teachers encouraged the walkout and even offered students extra credit for attending. Other teachers ignored the walkout and continued class, which was hard because the protesters were so loud, it was hard to focus. Others showed movies and told students it was their choice whether to leave or stay. One teacher even said, "I'm not holding you. You can walk out. I'm only here because you choose to be here. I respect that."
Some protesters, however, went into classes and banged on the doors. One transfer student named Fatima was in a class in Sierra Hall, "They were walking back and forth and were screaming walkout. They said, 'this is for you, us and your professor.'" Although the protesters may have been distracting, Fatima thought the walkout was "a good thing. It makes people aware. A lot of people can't take classes."
However, some students were not so happy that protesters were knocking on doors. Freshman Shoekwa James said, "They're protesting for their right for an education. Therefore, respect my right to sit in class." Others thought the protest was stupid because students are paying to be in class, so it's ridiculous to skip the class to protest and were unsure how the protest will help.
Furthering annoyance, protesters began sitting in streets (Reseda, in particular) surrounding the school. The streets were closed and students were having trouble getting to night classes. Some arrests were made.
One junior named Ginny Ortiz disagreed, "I think it's great. A lot of people say it's stupid to cut class, but it sends a message. And it's great that the protests are statewide and unified."
The protest continued all day and received a lot of press coverage, which is exactly was students wanted: to be heard.Powered by Sidelines