Lots to protest
College students have a lot to be discontented about these days—slashed classes, hiked tuition fees, less opportunities after graduation. So, it’s been heartening to see a recent increase in activist energy on local campuses. Students are holding sit-ins, wearing black, constructing TV-coverage-enticing props like tombstones and buying “solidarity pizzas” for activists on other campuses.
They’re standing up for their rights, and that’s something to applaud.
The protesters at Sacramento State have been particularly creative, nonviolent and smart—as with their demand that CSU officials publicly support legislation like Assembly Bill 1326, which would tax companies that extract oil in California. (As we’ve mentioned on this page before, even Texas has an oil-extraction tax!) The moneys gained from A.B. 1326 would go directly to higher education.
So it was bizarre to read that CSU President Alexander Gonzalez saw fit last Saturday to break up a 27-student occupation of his administration building (a sit-in turned “sleep-in”) at 3:30 a.m. with riot-clad police carrying batons and zip ties. The helmeted officers came at the sleeping students from multiple directions and rousted them, threatening arrests.
Riot-clad police officers? Waking peaceable protestors in the middle of the night? Really? No one can doubt that the move will just result in more protesters.
Anyway, three cheers for the CSU student activists We wish them well as they continue to make their voices heard, and learn those life lessons about action/reaction.