Last Thursday was UC Berkeley’s Day of Action. Approximately 150 students came out to protest against UC fee hikes and spent the day of school occupying buildings and expressing their opinions. The day of protest ended in two arrests.
There was no protest at UC Davis, though the first day of school is usually a day of action. The UC Davis Day of Action held March 2, 2011 involved less than 70 students, and ended with zero arrests. There is a protest scheduled for October 27, though it has not been widely publicized.
While UC Berkeley is widely known as an activist campus, UC Davis protests still pale in comparison to UC Berkeley protests, at least when it comes to the amount of press it receives.
During the Day of Action on the Berkeley campus, protesters chanted, held signs, and handed out flyers detailing their opinions to passing students. This simple act of explaining to students what exactly they’re working for is vital to spread wider understanding.
In a time when UC Regents are threatening to raise UC fees to over $22,000 a year, all UC students should be expressing themselves and making their opinions known. UC Davis students should strive to get more students involved, informed and interested.
While UC Davis does have an activist presence on campus, many leaders within this group have graduated or will graduate in the next year. Numbers are already low, and with an increase in fees, we should be seeing an increase of student activists.
Last Wednesday, the UC Movement for Efficient Privatization (UC MeP), a satirical activist group, wrote a blog post that stated that angry students had occupied UC President Mark Yudof’s mansion. At the end of the article, however, they revealed that the headline had all been a ploy to get students’ attention. They then proceeded to inform the reader about the UC Berkeley Day of Action on Sept. 22.
This type of press, while somewhat lighthearted, is what our campus needs in order to catch people’s attention. With a bigger following, UC Davis protesters could have the potential to attract as much press as UC Berkeley protestors, thus giving students more of a chance to garner attention and influence decision making.
Protests can help inform students about the issues that are affecting them directly, specifically the current financial state of the UC system.
So, UC Davis students, pick up a copy of The Aggie, call your local representative or grab your megaphone. Just make sure you’re not pulling fire alarms.