About 70 Modesto Junior College students walked out of class and marched from campus to Modesto’s Tenth Street Plaza to protest planned budget cuts on Tuesday.
The protestors chanted and screamed at the Stanislaus County and City of Modesto office building, with slogans like “Save the teachers, cut the admins” echoing from the walls.
“We want our teachers, we want our classes, and we want our (expletive deleted) school!” screamed one student.
Their bullhorn-amplified cheers drowned out a neighboring gathering of area mayors – which the students did not know would be occurring – and forced an early end to the mayors’ rally.
Protestors said Tuesday’s action was intended both to drum up support among students, and to rally government leaders and the general public. Protestors hoped all will attend a meeting at 5:30 p.m. today in the MJC Performing and Media Arts Center, where the Yosemite Community College District Board of Trustees will decide a the budget reduction proposal issued Feb. 28 by MJC President Gaither Loewenstein.
Lowenstein’s proposal looks to cut $8 million from MJC’s $51 million general fund budget, calling for the elimination of 55 employees and entire programs from the college — including mass communications, culinary arts, dental assisting, architecture, engineering, communication graphics, industrial technology, French, German, and Italian. The cuts would also slash Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, the Wawona Child Care Center, telecourses, the west campus library, college recruiters and MJC management staff including the college’s Marketing and Public Relations Officer, Director of College Research, Dean of Arts, Humanities and Communication, Vice President, Student Services, and Director of Student Development and Campus Life.
The drastic cuts worry students like MJC music major James Varble, who used his time with the bullhorn to point to the problems society will face with an under-educated workforce.
“We are your children,” Varble said. “Our education affects you as well.”