April 14, 2011 in Nation/World

Thousands protest cuts at California universities

Amy Taxin Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Protesters enter an administration building at California State University, Sacramento as more than 100 faculty members, students and staff protested on campus Wednesday.
(Full-size photo)

LONG BEACH, Calif. – More than 10,000 people marched, waved signs and occupied buildings at college campuses across California on Wednesday in a show of opposition to state budget cuts to education that could lead to higher tuition, larger class sizes and lower enrollment.

The rallies were part of a day of protest planned for all 23 California State University campuses. Similar events took place in states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey, where legislators are slashing education spending to close huge budget shortfalls.

In California, students peacefully occupied administration buildings in protest on at least six campuses, said Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the California Faculty Association, which worked with students and employees to organize the demonstrations.

He estimated about 12,000 students, faculty members and others participated in the rallies statewide.

Deep budget cuts in California during the height of the recession two years ago led to sharp tuition hikes, employee furloughs, course cutbacks and reduced enrollment at the CSU and University of California systems.

The state restored some of that funding last year. But California’s public colleges and universities face another round of painful cuts as Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature seek to close the state’s $26.6 billion budget deficit.

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