The Times They Are A-Changin’

Look out UC Berkeley — UC Irvine is riding your tail. We may be smaller than you but we can protest like pros. We can throw shopping carts off of the University Town Center Bridge! We can march down University Drive and block traffic in all directions! We can run into classes and inspire revolutions!

The New University does not want to slow your momentum. If anything, we are incredibly proud to be a part of a school that has finally lost its reputation as being apathetic, sterile and quiet while the other UCs get to make all of the noise.

Sure, part of this is because you are finally being affected personally by the fee increases, the furloughs and the possibility of not having a guaranteed job when this whole college shindig is over.

While other American students are still in the whole “apathy is cool” mindset, you have taken responsibility for your fellow-students. You have recognized a problem with the system and are now fighting to fix it. You are demanding that California prioritize education; that we spend our money wiser; that when we pay $15,000 per year, we get our money’s worth; that our peers will be able to afford school even when their parents have lost their jobs.

Really and truly, we are so happy that you care, UCI.

But.

As students who cover these protests, talk to administrators, Regents and faculty, we do have some concerns for you that we would like to pass along.

It seems that we have lost our focus. Just look at the list of demands on the “Democratize Education” Web site.

Sure, we are all for education reform, lower fees and no furloughs. We wish that we could pay our service workers more money and stop the lay-offs. However, what do gender-neutral bathrooms have to do with fee-hikes? Why do we need to include the issue of disciplinary action against the Irvine 11 in our education reform protests?

We may be for or against these specific causes, but the fact is that the longer the list of demands becomes, the more difficult it will be to get it passed. We cannot just keep tacking-on issues in order to get more supporters. We realize we need more bodies and voices but simply blending every cause and group into one huge mega-protest is not going to cut it. If anything, the mishmash of issues will only alienate and discourage people who may have otherwise participated in advocating education reform.

This being said, we DO want to protest. We want to shout and jump and scream, block roads and hold posters and chant. We want to take back UCI but we need more people to do it.

Our protest was only about half the size of Berkeley’s and UCLA’s. Most students went to class; some did not even know that the protest was going on.

We are advocating for more music, less noise. We want organization, not mindless yelling. We want change and we want you to give it to us, UCI. See you at the flagpoles.

Send comments to newuopinion@gmail.com. Please include your name, year and major.