Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Protest gathers students from various colleges

Andrea Mora/TM
Students from Cal State Long Beach proteset against education cuts. Cerritos College Joseph Silva (in red) along with other Cerritos Student participated in the protest.

With the recent tuition increase and budget cuts, Cerritos students, along with students from California State University of Long Beach, protested at the university’s campus on April 14, where students from different schools came to support the rally against Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget cuts toward education.

“Prices have inflated because we have been taking away so much from education. Whenever it comes to crunch time, the thing that gets cut first is education. If we want to be a powerhouse country in the near future, then we have to support education,” philosophy major Joseph Silva said.

Brown’s proposal is intended to make a projected deficit of $25 billion over the next 18 months, meaning that $12 billion will be cut from education.

Alex Jreisat, anthropology major,  figured reduction in funding for schools doesn’t help the bureaucracy, but gives students a reason to unite.

“I think if we don’t do anything about it, then the people who are making all of the laws, who don’t have [students’] point of view, won’t help us at all,” Jreisat said.

“If we want the laws to be beneficial to us, then we need to make our voices heard.”

The protest started with people cheering as student and faculty activists gave speeches about the importance of how the future of education is being taken away while students are struggling to pay unnecessary increased fees.

Students marched after the speeches and picketed with their signs across the campus and chanted sayings such as, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, state budget cuts have got to go!”

Students Fight Back, a newly formed club at Cerritos College, brought anthropology major Stevie Merino to side with protestors. 

“Protesting really does make a huge impact. We can’t just stand back idly while all of these attacks on our education are taking place. Protesting is really important, even if it doesn’t bring results right now, it will at some point,” Merino said.

Vice president of the Students Fight Back Club, Javier Fabregas, not only has been affected by the financial shortfall, but has been prevented to transfer to the university of his choice due to the cuts of classes that have occurred to the college.

“I’m supposed to transfer to Cal State Dominguez Hills and this semester was supposed to be my last. I’m a transfer student from New York and used Cerritos College to transfer to a CSU, but I wasn’t able to get a health class. So, now I have to stay at Cerritos for another semester.”

For Cal State Long Beach students, the increased fees and conflict with getting the right classes to graduate have put certain scholars in a dilemma of not being able to obtain their education goal.

As a first-year student at Cal State Long Beach, Rene Jackson stood at the protest as someone who is currently going through the crisis of not being able to get her classes on time, as well as not being able to afford schooling.

She said, “I’m struggling to pay my tuition [at Cal State Long Beach]. My mom works two jobs and my dad works at UC Davis, and he’s getting cut, too. I have three siblings in college and our parents can’t even pay for us with the fees going up.”

Although students at UCs and CSUs are the ones that are being greatly affected by the state budget cuts, it also means that students at community colleges will also be impacted.

One who has been affected by class cuts is Cerritos student, Gabriel Herrera, an anthropology-sociology major.

Herrera protested with the Students Fight Back Club in hopes to make a difference by uniting with other college students.

Class cuts greatly affect Cerritos College, which affects more students’ transferring rates, because we can’t always get into the classes that we need.  

Students from community colleges and universities came with the same fight in mind: to counteract the elimination in future school programs and the upward spiral of tuition.

For Glendale College student Mike Prysner, the protest gave him a perspective that uniting with other students who are affected by the state deficit will prove a significant difference in students’ actions against their right to a higher education.

“Today is very motivating because I think everyone here understands that the only way things are going to change is if we mobilize and fight for a change,” he said.

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Protest gathers students from various colleges