Protest ends peacefully; hearing at 2pm today
By Calindra Revier
MAY 7, 2015 — City College students organized a walkout yesterday, protesting administrative actions and demanding immediate attention to issues revolving around the appropriation of City College funds.
The walkout ended in a sit-in at Conlan Hall, which, unlike the previous demonstration on March 13, 2014, did not end up in a violent confrontation between police and students.
“As part of our protest we have three main demands. One, which is the immediate removal of the special trustee with extraordinary powers,” Alex Garcia, student organizer in MEChXA de CCSF, said inside Conlan Hall. “Our other demand is the immediate reversal of the cuts to classes, resource centers and programs. “
The last demand posed by the student protestors was the abolishment of the controversial payment policy, which many argue targets minority, ESL, and low-income students.
Jeff Hamilton, executive assistant to the chancellor stated, “Were supposed to tax our citizens in rural California to subsidize students who don’t want to pay their fees? We have to balance all these competing interests who have a say over the policy of this institution.”
Hamilton went on to say, “until we identify a revenue source to replace the money, then we’ve got to take money from somewhere else to cover those fees.”
Lalo Gonzalez, student organizer in MEChXA de CCSF said, “If you look at the kind of gains that we made, I mean we shifted the narrative. We exposed in our organizing efforts and we won people over to our perspectives through massive demonstrations.”
“City College was bleeding due to the state divesting, now it’s hemorrhaging due to what the ACCJC has done. They hijacked the accreditation process to impose a corporate agenda.”
Lalo Gonzalez and Alex Garcia are both apart of the diversity studies coalition.
The students, in response to the last altercation with police on March 13, 2014, went through some extra training in their rights as well as reaching out to liaisons at the police and free-speech groups.
A representative from the National Lawyers Guild, Bryndis Tobin, attended as an experienced observer to protect the student’s First Amendment rights.
“Chief Barnes has not returned any of our phone calls.” Gonzales said. He explained that the students reached out expressing that they did not want a repeat of last time.
“Us getting arrested would have hindered that because the administration has actually threatened organizers for expulsion and suspension. We’ve actually had financial holds placed on key organizers, we’ve seen students getting detained,” Gonzales said.
“These are tactics, scare tactics that are used by the administration and there’s no doubt that they would have used us getting arrested for so called ‘occupying this space,’ to take them out of the organizing efforts.”
The sit in ended around 8pm when the students were told to leave the premises or be arrested.
Today at 2 pm at City Hall the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee will hold hearing on City College. “It will provide an opportunity to for students, faculty and the community to talk about the updated issues that are happening at City College,” Gonzales said.
The meeting’s in Room 250 City Hall.