Walk Out at Santa Monica College

by Javier Friday, Nov. 07, 2003 at 7:38 AM

Hundereds of students walkout November 3 against the adminstration and the president because of the distribution of money, elimination of programs, layoffs of hundereds of faculty workers, and semi-corruption taking place with the school funds.

On November 3, Monday a radical student group nervously awaits what out come is going to take place at noon because there is a call for a walk out at Santa Monica College. The walkout was called against borderline corruption and layoffs that the administration is initiating. That morning it was pouring rain and the speculation was that the walk out was going to be a failure because students were not willing to march in the rain. Precisely at noon, the clouds cleared up and a group of about 30 students showed up at the meeting area. This number kept growing and growing until there was a significantly large crowd that was in the hundreds. Even activist/professors thought only 10 students would have shown up from the general cycnism and the pouring rain, but everyone had a pleasant surprise once the crowd became so big it had a life of its own.
The police were very strict about not letting the marchers play amplified sound, so hundreds of students marched around school expressing chants about the right of an education not having any confidence in the trustees through their many mouths.
The marchers began to march on Pico to go to Piedad Robertson who is the President of the school and is seen as the main engineer of the negative structural changes. Her office, which was 9 blocks east from the campus. Students exchanged the one bullhorn they had and collectively hyped each other up as they began to feel the strength they have as a collective body. The police were strict about not letting people walk on the street and threatened many organizers. The marchers exceeded the length of two blocks and stopped once it reached the presidents office. It was estimated that the crowd exceeded over 500 at its climax and most agree there was at least 300 present. A loud speaker was set up in front of the building but the tail of the marchers were not able to hear so they drifted off. But the remaining crowd was a group of very enthusiastic, militant, vibrant group of students who continued yelling chants as loud as possible like, "we are the students, the mighty mighty students." When one of the speakers told the crowd of students that the administration accused the union of conspiring the walk out, the students in roar booed down the claim. Student after student came up on the microphone denouncing the president, the trustees as being selfish and elitist. The student trustee who voted with the president to support the layoffs, Melvon George, was denounced as a Sellout. This soon became a chant and the students chanted this over and over again. Phil Hendricks, who is head of the union at school representing the CSEA, spoke about how he was threatened with the elimination of his position if he spoke at the walkout so he spoke about this altercation and denounced the administration for its behavior. Students began talking about bigger issues of poverty and societal problems and advocated that it was only through a political movement of when people begin to fight back will there be change that takes place. The enthusiasm surprisingly did not die down and most people stayed until the end. The final message was that this type of political activity must continue if we want to see change so the struggle does end today but barely begins.