TURLOCK — Rather than have everyone walk out during a statewide demonstration in March, organizers at California State University, Stanislaus, would like to see folks come in to the campus.
A group calling itself Warriors Fight Back met Friday to discuss plans for the Strike/Day of Action set for March 4. The statewide event was scheduled after students at the University of California at Berkeley in October protested budget cuts and increased fees throughout the state's higher education system.
"March 4 is one part of the fight to save public education, and a part of the protest against the tuition increases, layoffs, and cuts to our classes," student Nikki Boudreau said in an e-mail message.
About 40 people gathered last week in Bizzini Hall to make plans.
The March 4 date was chosen because all of the campuses will be back in session by then, and it's just before March 15, when faculty must be notified if they won't be rehired in the fall.
"We want to shut down California," student Melina Juarez said. "People are actually listening now."
Though some considered staging a walkout, which the Turlock campus already has, organizers weren't sure it would be effective.
"Not everyone can pull off a strike," Juarez said. With so many Stanislaus students working as well as going to school, it's not likely a strike would work here.
John Sarraillé, president of the local chapter of the California Faculty Association, suggested a teach-in. He also suggested an evening reception for students, the community, and faculty and staff members who had been laid off — and he offered some financial help from the union.
Other options include concerts by CSU, Stanislaus, music students, as well as community bands who have offered to perform for free.
Organizers said goals include reversing higher education budget cuts, restoring classes that have been cut, and bringing back faculty and staff. The group also wants to bring back winter term, which will be eliminated at the campus in 2011.
Attendees signed up for committees and pledged to start looking to raise funds and awareness of their event.
Organizers urged long-term thinking as well as short-term.
"March 4 is not going to solve our crisis," said student Alejandra Juarez, Melina's sister. "It's only the beginning."
On the Net:
Warriors Fight Back has pages on Facebook and MySpace, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2343.