Students say no to fee hikes



Jonathan Roisman

Pleasant Hill may not be a hotbed of political activism like Berkeley, but DVC students care about college fee hikes and other campus issues.

Students for a Democratic Society will hold a rally at 11 a.m. March 4 in the patio area between the cafeteria and student union building to protest the statewide community college fee increases and to organize a student political movement at DVC.

“We hope to build a student movement that will hold these politicians’ feet to the fire,” said Frank Runninghorse, a long-time student and SDS community member.

In July 2008, community college fees rose from $20 to $26 per-unit and the state’s fiscal crisis resulted in a massive closure of classes at California’s community colleges.

While some in SDS prefer a general strike of the school in addition to a rally, many members say such radical action isn’t realistic right now.

The key, they say, is to show up.

“We want to get people involved and stand up for the their rights,” said Julia Jordan, a global studies major who joined SDS to raise awareness that something can be done about the budget cuts.

SDS member Nick Holmes said, “We know we’re at the birth of a new civil rights movement, so we need to build our warriors.”

Political science professor John Kropf, said he likes SDS and its political activism but cautioned it’s harder for commuter schools like DVC to form large activist groups because students do not live on campus and often work part- or full-time jobs.

A goal of the March 4 rally is to build support for the “March in March” rally March 22 when California educators and students travel to Sacramento to protest the increasing costs of attending college, Runninghorse said.

The Associated Students of DVC and the Inter Club Council have yet to take a stand on the rally, but ICC President Francisco Hinojosa said he believes the ASDVC will officially support it.

“We can only hope that more clubs [are] as passionate about keeping the doors open for students to still attend college,” Hinojosa said. “I like the [rally]. It speaks to the American spirit, and I miss that spirit around our campus”.

SDS members plan to leave DVC after the March 4 rally and meet up at Civic Center in San Francisco with other activists to protest the higher education budget cuts.

“We need to make the politicians fear us and respect us,” Runninghorse said.


Contact Jonathan Roisman at [email protected]