- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- CROWD : Out of Cal Poly’s 19,325 students, 1,047 faculty members, and 1,383 staffers (based on 2009 statistics from the school’s website), approximately 60 people showed up to protest the sweeping education budget cuts proposed for the California State University system.
While faculty members and a few dozen students turned up to scream their lungs out over upcoming budget cuts to the California State University system, many of the demonstrators expressed frustration over a lack of student interest.
The California Faculty Association and its Students for Quality Education affiliate organized the protest at Cal Poly’s University Union on April 13 to call on Sacramento for fair contracts for faculty and staff and protest the budget cuts and student fee increases, said local CFA chapter President Glen Thorncroft, a Poly professor of mechanical engineering.
The turnout, however, was miniscule compared to the university’s student population. During the rally’s speeches, for example, roughly twice as many students as protestors sat around the plaza eating and sending text messages, paying little or no attention.
Student protesters Casey Weiss and Erica Janoff—both master’s students—told New Times the turnout was “pathetic,” but those who did show sent a strong message.
“Maybe we don’t have as many [students] that depend on financial aid, so this doesn’t cut as deep for them,” Weiss said.
“But this is about principles, what we value,” Janoff added. “What and where you cut sends a strong message [as to] what your priorities are.”