EDITORIAL: Student march won’t produce change alone



Editorial Staff

While expressing first amendment rights is valuable, commendable and to be supported as well as encouraged, it won’t simply be enough to influence policy change by marching once a year. 

However, the expression and practice students made at this event and others to express their first amendment rights, protesting may not be enough to facilitate the changes to be made regarding policies about higher education.

The “March in March” is a yearly protest at the Capitol in which students from all over the state come together in protest of the cuts being made to higher education.

Approximately 10,000 students flooded the Capitol in Sacramento on Monday to exercise their first amendment rights and objections to financial policies if passed on the November ballot could affect students statewide. 

“It’s important that we have our rights to free speech, have our voices and opinions heard,” said Maritime Academy, junior global studies and maritime affairs Devon Coyl. “Messages are heard through speech. I’m all for protest and we did a good job presenting the message at the march.”

Exercising first amendment rights is a practice all students, not just those in higher education, should be supportive of. Unfortunately, protesting, it seems, may no longer be enough to spark the drastic change students’ desire.

“A campus is like a microcosm. It’s a community and (as students,) it’s where we spend a majority of our time, so when issues come up they do need to be dealt with. People need to be people sensitive so, it’s important to voice issues and concerns,” said University of San Francisco English and finance sophomore Devon Washick.

The students of California higher education clearly have issues with the way policies and tax increases are being handled concerning education, but marching once a year will not be enough to make the changes so desperately sought after. 

Students need to speak out on a daily basis and not just amongst themselves. While it’s good to rally and converse amongst other students it’s also important to inform others.

Talk to neighbors lobby local government, write to congressmen and most importantly vote. Getting involved or even becoming actively informed and following state news can make a difference. Speaking to student governments on campus, to ensure those representing the student voice are addressing all of the concerns and issues when they represent the student body.

“I think it was good that at the march we were pushing specific millionaire pacts, if we can get behind specific tax increases for education like specific ones that would be good. But I don’t think marching is enough to do it,” Washick said. “As opposed to marching, the student’s of California should talk to their neighbors and people who vote in the state and tell them what’s going on. Tell them what issues to get behind.”

Students looking to help rescue education from deficit and painful financial cuts must look for ways to not only raise awareness through marching. There are several ways, some even more impactful, that can influence policy change, those done after protest and throughout the entire year.

“I think (the march) is great, and it’s fantastic for getting people involved and concerned about the issue. But there’s more communicating to be done,” Coyl said. “I really hope and wish that the congressmen and senators that we do have in place can change things in the senate so that education becomes a priority.”

Protest can unify the student body, particularly in a state as large as California. It brings together those driven enough by the toil and struggle facing today’s students and allows them to peak interest and inspiration in each other. Camaraderie is an important tool in protest and change.

An event like “March in March” can stir interest, curiosity and awareness, which are critical to getting the support needed, but the heavy lifting is done after the marching and picketing is over.

It is imperative students recognize the power of protest. Awareness only stirs up curiosity. Information, not protest itself, is the beast fueling the ballots at the end of the day. 

The Editorial Staff can be reached at [email protected]