March 4, 2010 Public Education protest/Controversy


This page is for discussion of the March 4, 2010 Public Education Protest. The protest generated significant controversy that played out in the comments of the protest page. In order to keep that page more manageable, the bulk of the discussion should take place here, leaving the root page for info on the protest and aftermath. For more information you can read up on the UC Davis Budget Cuts.

Stories and Thoughts

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2010-03-04 18:54:55   The recent and apparently on-going behavior of the students is not endearing me to their cause. All California's people are suffering, I don't know one person is has not been effected by that state's budget crisis, both mine and my husband's income has been effected and I am sending a son to college next year, my daughter's elementary class will likely grow in size next year, her teacher requested we buy her reams of paper so the kids could get homework assignments. These college students need to grow up, suck it up and start being part of the solution, not creating more problems. —HazelWatson

2010-03-04 18:56:08   Anyone protesting budget shortages and rate hikes who goes and graffitis on campus should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. It's destructive, it's hypocritical, but most of all, it's counter-productive. You're only going to decrease the credibility of anything you (and anyone associated with you) has to say, and you're going to cost the campus a lot of money in cleaning it up. I'm sure plenty of the protesters believed in what they were saying, but some of these people are just obnoxious morons who are more interested in mayhem and troublemaking than in any real message. —TomGarberson (Please see my [WWW]lengthier criticism for a more complete explanation of my throughts)

2010-03-04 19:09:12   I seriously question the extent to which the protesters understand what it is that they are protesting. The fact they tried to walk onto a major interstate indicates that this is as much mob mentality tempered by youthful ignorance as it is students rallying for real reform. Again: the protesters tried to walk onto a major interstate. By what logic could that even begin to be considered a good idea? Whether you agree with their stated stance or not, they are going about it in the wrong way. —SarahEdwards

2010-03-04 19:47:30   I'd like to point out how much money these protests have cost the University, City, county, and state in terms of overtime, cleanup costs, and a wasted workday for many. In an era where the state is more or less bankrupt, protesting like this is not the way to help your cause in the eyes of anyone with a brain. Trying to shut down I-80? really? Just plain dumb. —ARWENNHOLD

2010-03-04 19:49:01   According to one of the Facebook event pages, they were fighting to defend public sector workers and public education. Public sector workers need more defending? Most of them make much more than they would if they had the same job in the private sector and are nearly impossible to fire. And by defending education, I would have to assume means more tax dollars towards education? Then who are they protesting? This is exactly what the administrators want, for protesters to embarrass the state so that politicians funnel more tax dollars into education (tax dollars that come from you and and your families). These protesters are basically the administrator's puppets. They are allowing the bureaucrats at the top to continue spending without transparency and accountability, which are the things that we really need, especially if what [WWW] says is true. And by pulling all the nonsense that the protesters did today, they hurt students, faculty, staff and the townspeople of Davis by wasting money and other resources. The protesters called themselves the crisis and I believe they are right in a way. The protesters are a crisis since the supposed best and brightest are nothing but a bunch of self-important ignorant cry-babies. —hankim

2010-03-04 20:00:14   No one is happy with raised fees for anything, especially education. However with the condition the great state of California is in, everyone is suffering, not just the students. Protesting, being destructive, and walking towards a major highway is counter-productive and stupid. Exactly what was the message being sent by these actions? It's not like protesting and doing stupid things will alleviate fee hikes or anything else. I wonder how much money was spent trying to keep peace and order. Money being wasted to stop students protesting about paying too much money. How ironic. —BenLee

Percent of Adults with No High School Diploma (California, 2000)
Percent and number of California adults with no high school diploma, by race/ethnicity, 2000

2010-03-04 20:04:32   I don't support all of the tactics of the protestors, but I support their cause. This is not about over-privileged students whining about a few fee increases. This is about students already working full-time in order to go to school who have now been hit with 32% fee increases — and what do they get in return? Fewer, more crowded classes. Programs eliminated or reduced. Staff reductions. Faculty hiring freezes or slow downs. This used to be the best university system in the world, and one of the things that made it the best was that it was available to everyone who qualified academically. It was a world-class education where low-income students mixed with upper-income students, not an elite school for the wealthy only. Now we've got a University in decline that is unaffordable for many. Lots to protest. —CovertProfessor

2010-03-04 22:34:48   I think the greatest irony was how they were protesting to improve the quality of higher education by ruining it for a day for many students. So many fire alarms were pulled in many buildings, interrupting students in class, some even taking exams. Oh, and they thought doing it to the library several times would be a good idea too. All they were were a disruptive, loud, unruly mob. Hardly a protest that united students like they wished too. —MattBlair

2010-03-04 23:25:35   I'm starting a counter-protest movement to (peacefully) combat and speak out against these irrational wacko protesters. I've tentatively named the movement "the UC Loyalists" but it could be changed if anybody thinks of a better name. E-mail me at jameschalmers84@yahoo.comJamesChalmers

2010-03-05 00:20:10   This I-80 protest reminds me of when I was an anti Vietnam War student activist at Cal State LA. In 1970 after the shootings of Kent State students and at the height of student protests, some students were gathered and one male student (I still remember his name.) said, "Lets go to the Freeway." (The I-10 San Bernardino Fwy in East LA - I didn't go.) They walked there and stopped traffic for about 20 minutes if I remember correctly. It was a big news story of a questionable protest. —BruceHansen

2010-03-05 00:55:20   Now, as I understand it, the point of the protests is to get the UC system to cancel or roll back the planned tuition increases. A lot of you are saying that it makes no sense to protest this in a way that costs the school(s) money. I disagree. In fact, the most effective form of protest is one that makes the offending policy costly to maintain. If the result from the tuition increases is that there are continuous protests which incur costs greater than those of the increase, the tuition increase becomes more costly than it is worth. I do agree that there are less destructive ways to do it than spraypainting grafitti (sue for tuition back due to furloughs and cancelled classes, transfer to a college or university that isn't doing this), but anything that costs the university money to maintain their program is an understandable tactic. I'm a little hazy on where blocking the highways makes sense in this. I guess it costs the state money in commerce lost? I think I understand the effect it was used to during the Vietnam War protests, but it doesn't make as much sense to me as a response to this situation.
Anyway, my point is, costing the University system money is precisely in keeping with the goals of the protest, especially if the students continue to be active and pursue it, because it sends the message that the tuition increase isn't going to be a fruitful way to increase revenue. And of all the messages to send, that is the one most likely to get the people responsible for policy to change their course. —JodyNorthup

2010-03-05 00:55:41   Too bad the University cannot quickly determine the cost of all of the extra emergency response vehicles for the fire alarms, the cost of all of the extra law enforcement officers, and the cost for cleanup and repair for all of the damage caused by the protesters, and then divide that by the student population and tack it on to the student fees... I thought the UC was supposed to be the best and the brightest?!? These actions are quickly proving otherwise. —DavidGrundler

2010-03-05 03:52:45   I'm in total support of the protests, one should know that even as an alumni of the UC system, not even going to UCD anymore, I still try very hard to participate, and to support these events. I thought this was going to be a "peaceful" protest. There are some things I'm not liking about this protest, the way things have played out. Choices made on behalf of the students, as well as law enforcement. This goes back to the townhall meeting, had I stood up and said what I felt like saying, I'd have people attacking me for my views being that we need to figure out alternative ways of protesting, and getting our voices heard that will not give birth to violence and mayhem.

Pulling off fire alarms, which I have seen so many posts from people today saying that it interrupted their classes and their studies... that wasn't a very good thing to do. Hell, blocking off the freeway isn't much of a hassle. I can take Russell boulevard if I have to. I think there are alternative measures that can be done to spread the message in a better light, than to block off a freeway entrance that isn't a major crossing which is pretty much cycling the message back to Davis, not our Capitol building, policy maker's offices, what overrules our budget and our education as a whole.

It's becoming "us vs. them" again. And this is what I hated in last series of protests. US being "those who chose to take part in the protests, to fight for the rights of the students." THEM being "those who chose not to fight for students' rights, those who just went to class, those who don't give a damn about our education."

This dynamic that drove me crazy because even though I had priorities to take care of like work, and class. Work in which if I did not go to, I'd be living on the street, people would accuse me of not caring about the protests, not caring about the issue, not being supportive, etc etc etc.... This to me, is hurtful. —ThUn

2010-03-05 08:19:12   What surprises me is that people are surprised by the I-80 thing. It makes a ton of sense - what else would give more publicity? I imagined it more like a game of chicken: the protestors hoped they'd be stopped in time, but had to carry on the bluff and the police couldn't chance it not being a bluff. There is no surer way of getting on national news and having people in every state hear of you than being the dummies who almost got on a major highway. —EdWins

2010-03-05 08:31:35   "There's no such thing as bad publicity," huh? It worked for Sarah Palin... oh, wait. —TomGarberson

2010-03-05 09:27:10   I agree with the sentiment: clearly taking out our state's budget shortfalls on individual students trying to obtain higher education is problematic, however destructive protests seem counterproductive to me.

Picketing, sit ins, etc., sure, but blocking freeways and vandalizing buildings all while wearing masks doesn't help your cause. It gets you attention, sure, but it makes people think "screw these dumb kids, they're just criminals anyway". Wearing a mask sends the wrong message. The point of a protest is to visibly take a stand for something you believe in. Making yourself anonymous is an indication that you are embarrassed by or ashamed of the actions you're taking. It also sends the wrong message to the public as it makes them mentally associate you with criminality, especially when you wear what frankly looks like the kind of mask a stereotypical criminal would wear.

Getting attention is only half the battle. You need to get attention and get people on your side. —rfrazier

2010-03-05 16:09:30   Wow, a lot of you Amerikans REALLY DON'T seem to understand what a STRIKE is about. —PxlAted

* Tom: March 4th was a strike. Read about strikes in Mexico or France or spain or even CANADA for comparisons to how strikes happen elsewhere. Re: rfrazier, Just saying it's funny to hear people whining about a strike being inconvenient. —PxlAted

2010-03-05 18:13:05   I was at the SF Civic Center protest that day, and I was amused by the rather composition of the protesters. For example, one group of people had put up signs saying that Obama and the Dems were not the answer to the problems while there were a number of people chanting "Yes We Can" in various languages, a phrase most typically associated with Obama. I was also wearing a "Save Darfur" shirt which got a few compliments despite the fact that this was supposed to be a day about education. I really think that the idea of solidarity amongst different groups has diluted their messages so much that in the protests of modern day, the messages don't really spread. —PaulAmnuaypayoat obama-all.jpg

2010-03-06 02:33:31   Well, I think that making a statement could have been more effective if they had: 1) stuck to a single topic; and 2) been more aware of WHOSE attention they needed, so that they wouldn't punish people who had no power to change their(/our) misery. OF COURSE the students and professors know that fee hikes and the whole budget situation are lame— Go to the people/person in charge of assigning/distributing education budgets! Or at least distribute contact information or information about leaders and policies and whatnot... so that the not-so-angry but slightly annoyed passerby might potentially be more interested in getting involved. $0.02 —Myself

2010-03-09 02:39:06   As the unwitting observer/self-described documenter of the event, I will say that good and bad things happened that day. While the protest had novel goals, it was a bit disjointed for its own good. As I entered while the group left Wellman for the MU, I heard a rather troubling remark that said that some of us were "only" joining to photograph. Yes, I was there to photograph, but I stayed to fight. Not a good start.

I was also somewhat troubled by the relatively disjointed nature of the protest. One-half of the people came to protest the fee hikes while another half cam to protest homophobia, so I was somewhat confused by the main objective of the protest was.

To cap off the "bad things" that happened, I really wish people didn't say things like f- the police. It really does not help the police see us in a better light if we're telling them to f-off. Did they do some somewhat questionable things (there was an assault rifle in a police car)? Yes, but come on, people.

I'll post up the good things later. —HarrisonM

2010-03-10 12:42:59   Jessica, you seem to be implying that if something happens anywhere, it happens everywhere. Just because something currently happens in some other (metropolitan) area, there is no evidence whatsoever that it can or will happen here. As an example, right now the Japanese allow a limited number of whales and dolphins to be caught and killed for their meat. This has nothing to do with Davis, so it would be absurd for me to then go on to say that we should closely monitor fishermen around here and be aware that they might start engaging in some spontaneous whaling. It's a different situation, and if you are unwilling to provide some context or logic that relates these examples back to Davis, then people are going to automatically discount what you say, since it isn't relevant. —JoePomidor

2010-03-10 12:56:06   This is a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It's an attention grab that will never stop so long as we pay any attention to it. Please don't feed the Jessica. —IDoNotExist

2010-03-10 12:57:38   Yeah, I'm out too. This is obviously something that has moved beyond the realms of logic. —JoePomidor

2010-03-10 16:30:00   I just saw the blues brothers movie for the first time. so great and so true. —PxlAted

2010-03-11 16:38:53   I actually came late to my 9AM class, only to find that they were gone. Luckily I was able to text a friend to find out where they'd relocated. Thanks for pulling the fire alarms...

Looking back at the last time we had a protest/rally to take back our campus, I remembered being absolutely proud that we weren't UCSC or UCB, holding up buildings, ruining campus property, and disrupting classes. We were committing acts of civil disobedience, using the only thing you really need: our voices. March 4 has disrupted this pride, and has made me think that nothing's going to change. After all, no one negotiates with terrorists. —AmyOhe

* Actually people negotiate with "terrorists" all the time, even real terrorists. —PxlAted

2010-03-11 20:18:48   This page is dedicated to the CONTROVERSY, and so now all the pro-March 4 protesters have a chance to understand the reasons why non-protesters DID NOT find certain aspects of the March 4 protests effective. If your ultimate objective is to compel non-protesters to do something (join in the protests, sign a petition, vote for a certain politician, etc..), then you might want to listen in (non-defensively) for constructive feedback. For communication's sake. $0.02 —Myself

2010-03-14 22:46:25   OK, I watched the video on Aggie TV and I thought the protesters made an ass of themselves to be honest. Before I go any further, I would like to state that their reason for anger and frustration is 110% justified and something needs to be done. But all those protesters managed to do is make total tools of themselves and piss off the rest of the student body. A lot of people were in class and these people forced them out with fire alarms. This protests was anything but peaceful. (Well with exceptions of that dude trying to give that cop a flower...Thought that was kinda cool) These assholes, held up an intersection and buses and tried to hold down a freeway. They terrorized a town trying to FORCE people to do what they want. Do you guys see the hypocrisy here? Also the Aggie reporter was so biased and stupid. She kept saying how brutal the police were and how the protesters were being peaceful and breaking NO laws. I watched the video and counted 8 laws the protesters broke. But there was a few protesters who went on (Right after the reporter made her remarks BTW) to say things along the lines of: "I understand why the police are trying to stop us. We are breaking the law, but we have to do what we have to do and they have to do what they have to do. But the ends justify the means". God bless those protesters who said that. Although I dont agree with their means, at least they are in reality. Then to over exaggerate the injuries at the end was pathetic. You had some bruises. Watch videos of protests from the 60's and compare injuries. Oh and stop wearing Che Guevara t-shirts. The dude was a murderer and a war criminal. If you want to promote peace, wear Ghandi and Martin Luther King. (Two personal heroes of mine)

Laws broken
Town terrorized
Students caused pain and anguish to those who have nothing to do with the problem at hand
Problems still stand.

I just wish this wasnt so misguided. I personally wouldve liked to have us all lined up Russell shoulder to shoulder. Gaining support from those who surround us, rather then harassing the citizens of Davis and making their life difficult. The businesses here have been good to us, we should return the favor, not cause them harm. —Dozer

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