By Jesus Hernandez

Editor in Chief

Eleven LBCC students and two advisors took off from the LAC on March 3
and headed to Sacramento to join thousands of community college and
university students for the 5th annual March in March.

The March in March is a protest where college students from across the
state march in solidarity for 1.5 miles from Raley field to the
capital building.

During the rally on the capital steps, Jonathan Lightman, executive
director of faculty associations of California’s Community Colleges,
said, “Last November the voters delivered a clear message… enough
with the cuts.” Lightman was crucial to the success of the first March
in March in 2009.

In unison, protesters’ chants bellowed up the capitol steps in front
of the higher-educated mass and into the building filled with Calif.
lawmakers.

Ian Ruddell, student trustee for the entire Calif. State University
system, said, “Since 2007, our three systems of higher education have
cut billions of dollars. Today we are here to demand that our
representatives make higher education a priority again.”

After the march, the LBCC students met with Mary Flores, a Legislative
Aide to Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal. Flores took diligent notes
about the issues that were brought from Long Beach by the group of
concerned student leaders.

Jason Troia, 32, student trustee, said, “We asked for Assemblymember
Lowenthal to write a letter in support of students at LBCC after being
made aware of how the program discontinuance process we just went
through did not involve any student input at all. It violated Title 5
of the Calif. Education Code in at least 10 places.

“I would hope that she would accept the very reasonable request that
we made, ” said Troia. “We would like for the Board to start the
process over again, only this time allowing the adequate amount of
student input in the process.”

After negotiations and protests, President Eloy Ortiz Oakley announced
his recommendation to discontinue 12 programs, but following a quick
discussion, the Board spared the diagnostic medical imaging program
from the chopping block.

The common misconception is that all of these classes will be cut from
LBCC entirely. Most of these programs are being restructured and
integrated into existing programs. The only programs completely being
eliminated are the aviation maintenance, auto-body repair and interior
design programs.

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