Community college students, teachers, and supporters gathered before a tower of ramen noodle packages on the steps outside Gov. Jerry Brown’s San Francisco office today to protest a proposed fee increase.
The “Ramen-In” was staged by faculty and students in response to a proposed hike that would increase the cost of classes by $10 per course unit, resulting in a $300 increase for students taking the typical 30-unit course load for the academic year, organizers said.
In response, protesters surrounded $300 worth of Ramen noodles, what they say students will be forced to subsist on if school fees increase, and delivered it to the governor’s office.
Organizers said a Ramen-In was held Wednesday in San Diego and another was scheduled for Los Angeles today.
Protesters held signs that read “Close loopholes, not schools,” and “Tax oil, not students,” in response to the recent uproar over the governor’s proposed budget and the looming cuts for public schools.
According to City College of San Francisco instructor Alisa Messer, who attended the event, many students at the state’s community colleges are from low-income families, and the new hike could deter them from pursuing an education.
“These are low-income students who struggle every day to make ends meet,” Messer, who is also a teacher’s union president, said. “They’re doing everything we tell them they should be doing to better themselves and have a brighter future.”
Messer said the new increase amounts to a new tax on students and that the state is asking the wrong people to shoulder the burden of the budget crisis.
One of the students at the rally was 49-year-old Maria Crispi, who said she is trying to make a fresh start with the aid of education in the wake of an abusive relationship.
She is currently pursuing a certificate in sexual health and has recently completed a certificate in HIV prevention at City College, which she said has opened doors for her in the work force.
“I got a second chance in my life,” Crispi said. “I want to be able to continue my education at City College as much as I can.”
Erika Heidecker, Bay City News