Berkeley students march to protest public education cuts

Protesters march down Telegraph Avenue this afternoon in Berkeley: Photo: Pete Rosos

Hundreds of students in Berkeley took part in protests Thursday against cuts to public education.

On campus, a Day of Action at UC Berkeley began with teach-outs and protesters wrapping California Hall in caution tape. Many Cal students marched to Oakland to join other protesters at Frank Ogawa Plaza from where a march on Sacramento is set to depart.

Several hundred Berkeley High students left campus at 2:40 pm and converged on Old City Hall on MLK Jr Way. There they listened to performers and speakers. There were chants, including ones calling for money for schools and against wars. Some students were dancing.

Berkeley High students walked off campus and gathered outside Old City Hall to join the anti-cuts protest. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

The BHS students joined the demonstration despite a statement from BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi issued yesterday stating that unexcused absences were not allowed. He wrote: “BHS sees the initiative, activism, and consciousness of our students as qualities far preferable to the apathy and indifference sometimes exhibited by young people where social and political issues are concerned, and while we can celebrate that spirit of activism, and agree in principle to what they are demonstrating for, it is our charge as as an administrative team to see that students remain safe and encourage them to find the most productive and responsible ways to advocate for change during the school day.”


Julia Marlin, a Berkeley High student who participated in the Day of Action. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Today’s protests by Cal students, as well as demonstrations planned for March 5, were endorsed by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in an email statement. According the Daily Cal, campus faculty groups — including the Berkeley Faculty Association and the campus division of the Academic Senate — have also publicized their support, stating that several faculty members will march from Richmond to Vallejo alongside demonstrators.

Protesters convened on Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus. Photo: Pete Rosos