Following a mass walkout on September 24th, more than 5,000 students, professors and university employees took to the streets in Berkeley to protest cuts to the university budget and proposed fee increases shouting, “Education should be free. No cuts, no fees.”
The Associated Students of the University of California (UC Berkeley Student Government) has endorsed the walkout unanimously saying that, "Never before has there been such a large-scale single action across all of the UCs. For the first time, we have seen an alliance being built among students, faculty and staff all taking a strong stand against the erosion of the quality, accessibility and affordability of our UC education. United, we are confident that we can fight these budget cuts, oppose the enormous fee increases being proposed, and preserve the excellence of the UC public education system at this very pivotal moment in time." The September 24 Walkout is supported by the American Association of University Professors, the UC Student Association, the University Professional and Technical Employees and all of the student governing bodies of UC Berkeley.
Shannon Steen, of Save UC, a group formed two weeks ago to protest cuts at the statewide system, called the turnout extraordinary. "This far exceeds anything we thought would happen," she said. "This is an enormous success for the solidarity of the campus."
The marches in Berkeley coincided with the occupation of the Graduate Student Commons at the University of Colifornia, Santa Cruz.. A communiqué read from the occupied building states:
"We are occupying this building at the University of California, Santa Cruz, because the current situation has become untenable. Across the state, people are losing their jobs and getting evicted, while social services are slashed. California’s leaders from state officials to university presidents have demonstrated how they will deal with this crisis: everything and everyone is subordinated to the budget. They insulate themselves from the consequences of their own fiscal mismanagement, while those who can least afford it are left shouldering the burden. Every solution on offer only accelerates the decay of the State of California. It remains for the people to seize what is theirs."