Burden of the Budget, Power of the Pen

Michael Konigsberg
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Intent on taking their billions of dollars back from energy barons and state prisons, the faculty, staff and students of Glendale Community College beat paths to state lawmakers’ doors in Sacramento on April 29 with hearts of steel.

Their goal: to restore funds to California’s community colleges in the state budget, to be revised this month and finalized in June, or die trying.

They returned discouraged, but now it is time for the greater student body to take over the next leg.
With the 11th hour upon them, it is now up to the students of GCC to make their voices heard – with sacks and sacks of letters.

Why should students care? Because the loss of three major campus programs would have a devastating impact on life at GCC. The funding loss would mean that the Technology and Telecommunications Infrastructure Program, which furnishes the school’s electronic information services, would lose technical support and, therefore, become less efficient.

Another area affected by funding cuts would be matriculation services, which is responsible for counseling students on meeting their educational goals. The service would lose a significant number of counselors and materials available for students.

And finally, the funding cuts would affect CalWORKs, which puts welfare students on educational tracks to better vocations. The cuts would mean CalWORKs would have to lay off workers and cut aid to 175 students.

Associate Students of Glendale Community College has already blazed a path to state lawmakers’ doors in Sacramento.

Yet, their leadership is meaningful only when the students they represent are inspired by their example.
Students ought to be excited at the prospect of empowerment. To feel responsible for their government, to take control of their direction of an entire school – their school, their world, their lives – this is maturity and strength.

It is inexcusable that our state’s leaders misused their power to short-change education in deference to other interests; however, their choice will come back to haunt them.

The power of the voters who put legislators in office and the power of the students, whose fuel is the education they are duty-bound to protect, are equally as strong as theirs.

A letter, e-mail, or even a postcard from us all will do. Tell friends at other schools how crucial this is, how it affects us all.

The GCC students who demand that the funds be restored strike the assumption that their voice is weak. Organize. Shout to them. Write.