Hundreds Rally Against Community College Cuts

SD Community College District Canceled Most Of Summer Session Due To Cuts

Hundreds of people gathered near San Diego City College Friday morning to protest cuts to education.

Carrying signs and drums, demonstrators -- many of them students -- voiced their anger over the cuts to education in a loud protest during the U.S. Department of Education Community College Summit on campus. Among other items, the students say they're upset over the cut to summer school classes.

The San Diego Community College District has canceled most of the summer session due to budget cuts. The district usually offers about 1,100 classes that serve more than 23,000 students. Now, only select classes serving those graduating in the summer or year-round programs will be offered.

The crowd of about 150 demonstrators marched from the college quad to outside the theater where the conference was being held. Many of them painted red on their faces to symbolize their pain.

"The blood represents cuts to education. It's a symbolic protest that we're hurting and we're bleeding and we're dying [to have] our voices heard," said student Marcos Perez.

"It's their lives that we're playing with when we cut the budget so severely by $400 million. It sounds like a round number, but that's 27,000 students that will not be able to come to these schools," added retired teacher John Falchi.

The summit focused on serving military families and veterans, and those inside the conference said they understand student hardship but believe their efforts are misdirected.

"What I wish the students knew though was that the folks that are here are really the people that are so empathic and so much supporting them," said Gail Schwartz, a community college senior advisor for the U.S. Department of Education.

"If they say, we're not going to give you the money, that means you have to unfortunately... cut classes and downsize," added Rich Dittbenner, a spokesman for the San Diego Community College District.

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