“Three grand? That’s not fair! We’ll show you our pubic hair!”
“Public School; public nudity!”
“3,000 dollars? Get naked and holler!”
These were just some of the slogans approximately 10 scantily clad students chanted this afternoon at the “naked rally,” organized to bring attention to a proposed 32 percent hike in student fees. It was designed to emphasize how students are being “stripped of a right to accessible quality public education,” according to a press release.
The rally, held at noon in the quad, also served as a promotion for Thursday’s faculty and student walkout, intended to bring awareness to furloughs and rising student fees.
Students ‘dressed within legal limits‘ and holding protest signs across their bodies attracted many bystanders at the Memorial Union, some who were unaware previously of the fee increases.
Brad Bispo, a fifth year community and regional development major and tight-end on the UC Davis Football team, admitted that the fee increases don’t affect athletes as much as other students due to the scholarships they receive.
“I wasn’t really aware of this, but $3,000 dollars [in expected fee increases] is a lot,” Bispo said. “Especially right now, when we’re being encouraged to stay in school. Not too many people just have $3,000 lying around for that though.“
Student protestors attracted approximately 26 forms of media to the demonstration. Organizer Sarah Raridon, a fourth year human development major, said that the rally was intended to bring attention to the troubles students will be facing.
“It’s lighthearted and everything, but it’s also important for our voices to be heard,” said Raridon, wearing only underwear and a few strategically placed band-aids. “Fee increases and furloughs will be detrimental to our education.“
Among the crowd this afternoon was Fred Wood, vice chancellor of student affairs. Wood said that though he understands why students are upset, there are ways they can learn more about the budget situation.
“We’ve just never seen budgets like this before,” Wood said. “What most people are unaware of is that the cuts we’ve already made are less visible, and that we tried to keep students out of this for as long as we could.“
However some students participating in the rally believed not all had been done before proposing another fee increase.
“Yudof is getting paid more than our president,” said Jonathen Duran, fifth year community and regional development major. “It’s ridiculous! At some point [the Regents] need to hire people who are passionate about education and not so concerned about what they get paid.“
In response, Wood urged students upset to learn more about what they could do or financial assistance they could receive.
“We all feel for the students at this time,” Wood said.
Protestors urged those who attended the rally to also attend the walkout, which will occur all day Thursday with a protest on the quad at noon. Those participating in the walkout are demanding that the UC administrators return student fees to 2008-09 levels, stop cutting pay for employees making less than $40,000, relinquish President Mark Yudof’s emergency powers, and return UC executive pay to 2006 levels.