UCSC students start hunger strike

May 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students at U.C. Santa Cruz are on a hunger strike. They're protesting recent budget cuts they say unfairly target a specific group of students and blame the school's chancellor.

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The drum beat is getting louder as angry U.C. Santa Cruz students go on a hunger strike to protest budget cuts.

"I'm not going eat until we negotiate with the chancellor," said Brenda Ponce, a hunger striker.

The students of Color Collective wants more minority staff hires, no more faculty cuts, and recently laid off social science lecturers to be reinstated. They feel the on-going cuts target minority students and their departments.

"I don't hear anything from the biology department or the engineering department. Nothing radical like trying to get rid of the complete department," said Ponce.

Latino and community studies are two popular departments on campus. Still, one community studies lecturer recently got her pink slip.

"People like myself that make less than $40,000. I am very valuable resource for the program, we're getting cut so why not for instance get a pay cut from people that make the most money?" said Florencia Marchetti, a laid off lecturer.

"Those kinds of cuts are happening all over campus," said U.C. Santa Cruz spokesperson Jim Burns.

Administrators say they have to make $17 million in cuts because they're getting less money from the state. They say no department will be spared and more campus-wide cuts are likely.

"We also agree in many respects with their point that the U.C. system and this campus in particular is being starved by the state of California," said Burns.

In the meantime, these students say they'll continue this hunger strike until at least until Friday. If their demands are not met by then, they say they're prepared to escalate their action.

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