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Headline: “Days of Action to Defend Public Education” begins with a
Layercake: Participants mourn the death of public education
By MAX GARRITY RUSSER
Aggie News Writer
A mock funeral procession for the “death of public education” was held on Thursday afternoon in the Quad which included bag pipes, a drummer, “mourners” dressed in black and even a coffin.
The funeral procession for public education was the first event held during the “Days of Action to Defend Public Education,” which were planned for March 1 to 5. Numerous other campuses across California and in other parts of the country are participating in the events to raise awareness and support increased funding for public education.
The “Days of Action” planned at the UC Davis campus is tied with the Occupy UC Davis movement.
“These budget crisis and budget cuts do affect 100 percent of students and more students need to get involved,” said ASUCD Senator Kabir Kapur. “Anything we can do to raise awareness and get students involved in whatever fashion they’re willing to do it in; if it’s marching, if it’s lobbying or even writing to their legislators.”
Kapur said that he planned on participating in more of the events following the mock funeral.
An imitation minister preached to participants before the procession slowly marched around campus and then returned to the Quad.
“The university is not succeeding in getting the legislators to vote [for] the funds they should,” said UC Davis alumnus Richard Seyman. “It is a slow death by attrition.”
After the march, there were speakers both on the Quad and just outside the Memorial Union (MU). They cited a need for increased student participation and the raising of taxes to help counter loss of funding to public education.
“For one, students have a worse off learning environment because class sizes are going up,” said graduate student of history Andrew Higgins. “The level of an education that you are getting is getting worse as you are paying more for it. We’ve seen across the board at the UCs that section numbers are going up. So for students a few years ago a section could be around 45 students, whereas now some might have 75.”
Higgins also cited graduate students as being overwhelmed due to the lack of funding.
Undergraduate student protesters also had grievances about their university experience being worsened by decreased public education funding.
“Not enough people show physical support for public education,” said junior transfer student Natalie Roman. “It has affected my ability to get financial aid; my ability to take classes and not be stressed about the two jobs that I depend on for food and rent.”
Higgins also noticed how students’ preferences in majors have changed as a direct reaction to the new cost of education.
“One thing that I’ve noticed is that students are staying away from the liberal arts majors because they don’t see it as a viable way to pay off the debt that they are going to have when they graduate.”
Most participants cited the first event as a way to raise awareness for a massive march on Sacramento today. Students from all over the state will be coming to advocate for high education at the capitol.