Bay Area college students march for public ed

kgo
March 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Students from several universities in the Bay Area are marching for public education. They are calling it "The 99-mile march for education and social justice." They left Oakland Thursday and will arrive in Sacramento on Monday.

On Friday, they crossed the Carquinez Bridge. When they reached the span, supporters of of Occupy San Francisco were there to greet them with food and water. The day's goal was to march 23 miles from Richmond to Vallejo where they would stop to rest.

Several law enforcement agencies escorted the students as they made their way through busy San Pablo Avenue. "We have vans taking our stuff, the heavier stuff, and food and medical supplies. Other than that, we have stop points where the communities have been gracious enough to house us and feed us," said student Lea Volk.

They will stay at churches or community centers along the way. It is not a big group. About 40 students began the march in Oakland on Thursday afternoon. Along the way, they drew attention to themselves and to the plight of public education. "Government funds have gone so down and tuition's gone up that we're paying more than the government is for education. It's supposed to be public," student Kaitlyn Cornell told ABC7.

In Pinole, they stopped to rest and eat. Meeting them at Fernandez Park were faculty members from Cal. "We really wanted to join the march and show our solidarity for the students," UC Berkeley professor Greg Levine said. Professors like Maureen Miller say public universities in California cannot survive any more budget cuts. "We are losing faculty. The administration is fighting valiantly to keep people, and people would rather stay in the UC system, but the financial situation is so precarious," she said.

Once they arrive in Sacramento, they will meet up with other students and advocates of public education, but they say Monday's protest will be different. "We're actually going to go there and stay there until we actually achieve them. So, we're going to see if we can pull that off this year," said student Terence Yancey.

First, they have to make it there. On Friday evening, they were just crossing the Carquinez Bridge. On Sunday night they will arrive at UC Davis where they will overnight. On Monday morning, they will take a bus to the capitol.


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