Students and faculty at Glendale Community College joined hands Sunday as part of a statewide campaign to highlight the impact of state funding cuts.
The campaign, “Hands Across California,” was set into motion to raise scholarship funds for community college students, and to bring attention to the system’s overall contribution. There are 112 community colleges in California and, according to the event organizers, the campuses serve 2.8 million students each year.
On Sunday, Glendale Community College Supt./President Dawn Lindsay addressed the crowd in a T-shirt, sandals and sunglasses in the afternoon heat. She warned that the college faces up to $10.7 million in budget cuts, which could spell the end of the school’s six-week summer session.
“The ‘all-cuts’ budget is the worst-possible-case scenario,” Lindsay said, speaking of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget plan. “Easily, we would lose upwards of 800 class sections.”
Up and down the state, people organized to hold hands at community college campuses to make a statement about the importance of the system to the economy and well-being of California.
Janet Shamilian, president of the school’s student government association, said at least 100 students were expected to show up after publicizing the event on Facebook. Still, many students were out of the area since the event coincided with the tail end of spring break.
Passing cars honked in support as they drove by the group.
Lindsay, who said the funding cuts would affect student achievement goals by delaying graduations or transfers to four-year schools, emphasized that the event was not a protest.
“This is about the students,” Lindsay said. “There is empowerment in solidarity.”