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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “United, students fight for future”

    More than 1,100 students left Tucson for the state Capitol yesterday morning with one goal in mind: to reaffirm the importance of their civil rights and the value of their education.

    UA protesters stood side by side with equal parties from Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University to form a crowd some 3,000 people strong.

    This unique partnership of Arizona’s three universities displayed the power of the student voice and the communities’ support of higher education, protest organizers said.

    Arizona Board of Regents officials said it was the largest protest they had seen since the Vietnam War.

    The protest spoke incredibly for the youth of Arizona and the value they place on their education, said Tommy Bruce, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.

    “”The youth of this state has spoken before and you can see that we are speaking very loudly now,”” Bruce said. “”Do not question the power of the student voice, do not question our ability to vote, do not question our ability to use our education that we get from the three incredible universities of Arizona, to change this state, to change this world and to improve our society.””

    Multiple members of the legislature, from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, came out amongst the thousands of protesters to show their support of the event and alliance with the three universities.

    Arizona Representative Rich Crandall spoke to the crowd about his support of education and said it should be the last on the list of cuts.

    “”You cannot elevate your status in life without an education, so education has to be the last thing to give at this time,”” said Crandall, a Republican. “”For 2009, we are going to keep these cuts as small as possible, and for 2010 we are going to fight for the same thing.””

    Crandall said the $1.6 billion budget deficit is not a made-up number.

    “”The question is: what are going to be some appropriate cuts?”” he said.

    Crandall said he was bothered that such a large cut was proposed by two members of the legislature, “”but never in a million years would that have the votes to pass.””

    Arizona Representative David Schapira reiterated Crandall’s claim, and said the state cannot afford to turn a fiscal problem into a generational problem.

    “”I will stand with you and stand up against the people in power to demand that this state not balance our budget on the backs of students, because they are the future of Arizona,”” said Schapira, a Democrat.

    Senator Paula Aboud spoke of her immense support of the massive rally of students, and said protesting makes up the very foundation of our democracy.

    “”We must remember that this country was founded on civil disobedience for what we believe in,”” the Democrat said. “”We need to be here for thirty days, picketing and rallying, and standing up.

    “”This will make a difference; I’ve seen it in other states – it will. This is how you get your rights, whether it’s gay civil rights, black and white civil rights, this is what you do! You can stand up and be heard! Otherwise it’s just numbers in a budget, or lines on a paper. Students need to stand up and say how this is going to impact them.””

    Regent David Martinez said the organization of students from all three universities, along with faculty and community members, will leave a lasting impression on the state legislature and its future decisions.

    “”The fact that we have more than a thousand students from The University of Arizona alone is sending a strong message to state legislatures,”” Martinez said. “”They need to be really strategic about these cuts.””

    “”The student voice is strong, and we are here to say that we will not stand for budget cuts like this,”” Bruce said. “”There are thousands of other students who couldn’t make it out today, but we know that we are speaking loud and we will continue to speak. This is not something we will stand for.””

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