Students’ understandable anger

They’re bearing the brunt of the Wall Street-caused recession

Are California’s university campuses merging with the Occupy movement and becoming flashpoints of protest? Judging by recent demonstrations at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, it seems that way.

And why shouldn’t students be angry? They’re paying more and more to attend college, being forced to take out larger and larger student loans, and face bleak employment prospects when they graduate. They are bearing the brunt of state budget cuts because ideologically intransigent Republican lawmakers refuse to consider any new sources of revenue.

And it’s getting worse. Tuition at the CSU has gone up 9 percent again, and the CSU and the UC system are each facing an additional $100 million in triggered cuts because state revenue receipts are below projections.

One difference between these campus protests and those of the Vietnam War era is that campus administrators and faculty largely agree with the students that the situation is becoming intolerable. As Chico State President Paul Zingg stated, addressing a group of protesting faculty last week, “This state has lost sight of how it became great and how it needs to become great again. … I am very proud to be a part of the campus and to be a colleague with folks who are holding signs and are talking about the issues as you are.”

It’s good to see students and their teachers standing up for themselves and their universities. Are our legislators listening?