March 4th saw hundreds of grassroots organizations from across the country coming out to defend higher education with protests, blockades, teach-ins, strikes and occupations. In all, there were over 100 events planned in over 32 states.
The March 4th Day of Action to Defend Public Education, as the events were named, brought out students, faculty, and campus workers across the country to oppose budget cuts in higher education.
Students at University of California Santa Cruz have called a strike in protest to the budget cuts. Over five hundred workers, students and faculty attended a rally, and shut down the campus by blocking all entrances. Some blockades began as early as 5 am and continued until later that night. Helicopters circled overhead as protesters turned cars away, and explained to passerby why they were shutting down the campus.
Three people were arrested at an action involving 150 protesters at Hunter College in New York. Protesters, demonstrating against a 33% rise in tuition, tried to rush a 7 story building to occupy it, but failed. Below is a video of a student walkout at Hunter college that same day:
Nearly 300 students and faculty members protested at the University of California, Northridge, carrying banners and chanting. 6 were arrested when a group of 25 protesters blocked an intersection and refused to move.
Between 125 and 150 students demonstrated out of front of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union. They were demanding a tuition freeze and that top University Officials take pay cuts themselves before cutting the pay of lower employees. 15 students were arrested while trying to make their way into the Student Union building.
Hundreds of University of Washington students in Seattle, Washington, came out to protest state budget cuts, out of control administrative pay, and sky rocketing tuition at their university. The UW Student Worker Coalition, which organized the protest, encouraged students to walk out of class in protest.
In Oakland, demonstrators shut down Interstate 980 in protest of budget cuts to public education. The march began at UC Berkley, and swelled to a size of over 1,000 students before a group of 150 protesters branched off to shut down the interstate. Student journalist Cameron Burns caught this video of the protests before he and 150 other activists were arrested:
In Riverside, 1,000 demonstrators marched through downtown to converge at the office of state Senator Robert Dutton.
Immigrant rights speakers were featured prominently at a rally in Irvine. “In L.A., the public schools are 75 percent Latino and 10 percent black,” said Adam, an organizer for affirmative action group By Any Means Necessary. “We are in the middle of one of the most diverse cities in the country, and the campus needs to reflect that. L.A. is powder keg waiting to explode.” 600 hundred protesters blocked University Drive on campus and later marched onto interstate highway 73.
Over 2,000 students, faculty and workers rallied and marched throughout San Diego, demanding an end to budget cuts throughout the state.
At UC Santa Barbara’s Arbor, 350 protesters demonstrated on campus against budget cuts.