Yesterday 13 bicyclists trekked 15 miles to the State Capitol to demand a complete restructuring of the UC system.
Bike for a Future participants met on the Quad at 9 a.m. to discuss their plan and purpose before departing at 10. With the intention of biking in either rain or shine, participants received the latter, a development that visibly heartened the mood of the crowd.
“We are not going to Sacramento to beg for more money, we are going because there is a crisis,” said Yoo-Hyun Oak, a student participant. “The State must recognize that the structure of the UC allows the crisis to continue … [we need to] do something radical to change this.”
Organizers hope the event reminds state lawmakers that UC students have not abandoned their cause. The last organized protest was the occupation of Mrak Hall, which occurred before the winter break late last November.
However, some claim that the event takes the focus away from the faults of the UC leadership.
Camille Santistevan, UC Berkeley graduate and event organizer, disagrees.
“Some people say going to the state level is deflecting blame from the administration, but the fundamental issue here is to raise awareness about a problematic system,” she said.
At the Capitol, with an estimated 30 in attendance, State Reps. Fiona Ma, Anthony Portantino and Alberto Torrico addressed the protesters. Torrico expressed support for the students and suggested an idea that would have the UC publish a regular audit in hopes that it would bring more accountability to the administration.
Pleased with the impassioned calls for change, organizers considered the event a success.
“People are usually so busy living their lives that they [just] accept a situation,” Santistevan said. “[They don’t realize] that there is a potential for change, but it must be demanded.”
KYLE SPORLEDER can be reached at email@example.com.