Almost all of the non-faculty employees, as well as many faculty and cadets (students) gathered in a loose semicircle for a rally against the budget cuts on the quad of California Maritime Academy at noon today. Cadets and employees taped posters demanding "Education is a human right!" to sticks and their clothing. A large banner reading "Wheres The Funding?", with the first letter of each word underlined and in red, hung on the side of the mess deck (cafeteria). Many who didn't have time to stop and listen grabbed stickers and buttons distributed by the California Faculty Association and California State University Employees Union as they passed.
The president of the CMA chapter of the CSUEU spoke as two cadets strapped a third into a coast guard style rescue basket and carried it across the quad behind him. The analogy was some can be rescued from budget cuts, but what happens to those who aren't? Some CSU students will still be able to afford a chance at college, but some won't. Some funding will be restored to the budget for higher education, but it will come a the cost of a worker's job from CalWORKs.
As long as different groups are forced to compete against each other for money from Sacramento, no one will win. The state is being run more and more like a business, with pay for administrators rising because they have the skills to keep public systems "in the black" while workers are treated like they're lucky just to have a job and students like they should be thankful they don't have pay even more for a private education. Public services are becoming less public, but they're also becoming less of a service and more of a business game for administrators to play with public money. Unless we take a stand, capitalist politicians will be able to take even the most popular public service, the California State University, and ruin it by making it unaffordable to many students and low paying for its workers and faculty.
Thankfully, we have until 2011 before the CSUEU's contract comes up for negotiations again.