Thursday, February 25, 2010
POMONA - A rally of about a hundred students and their supporters demanded an end to a 2.9% fee charged to them on all on-campus credit card transactions. In the quad of Cal Poly Pomona, students gave speeches and cheered as student leaders denounced the fee as another example of "decisions being made about us without us."
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"We want to protect our education. It's part of the bigger picture," said Josephine, one of the speakers at the rally. "We need to start thinking critically for ourselves. We can't just keep taking this. We need to think, 'Why is education getting only two percent of the federal tax?' 'Why is education getting cut while prisons are built?'"
A large emphasis was placed on building for the March 4 day of action for education, and the role of the student movement in advancing the cause of education.
According to Chris, a student from the on-campus coalition United for Change, the rally was against one of a long series of offenses. "Summer was canceled, fee raises, fee raises, furloughs, program cuts. United for Change will not stand for it. This switch to a third-party vendor was basically the straw that broke the camel's back."
The University uses a private company, Cash Net, as an intermediary to handle purchases made with credit cards. The company charges a "convenience fee" of 2.9% on every purchase so made.
The United for Change representative called the fee and the deal as an "inconvenience," but stopped short of characterizing them as problems associated with privatization.
According to organizers, the rally had two main objectives: empowering students through raising awareness and encouraging students to participate in events scheduled for March 4.
United for Change plans to load students onto buses and drive to Los Angeles for legislative visits, "so our legislators can hear our voice." That visit is to be followed by a lobbying visit to Sacramento on March 22.
As far as plans to liberate space or undertake experiments in liberatory pedagogy, as has occurred at other manifestations of student energy throughout the state, organizers were unaware of any.
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