Over one hundred students marched through the center of campus Tuesday afternoon, on the second national day of action called by the Million Student March. The march centered around demands for free tuition, student debt abolition, and a living wage.
The march began at Silent Tree in front of Geisel Library and went through the Chancellor’s complex and the Price Center food court, where protesters called for a $15 wage for campus workers.
Speeches and chants also acknowledged racist graffiti that appeared on campus last Friday night by pro-Trump students. Approximately a half dozen Trump supporters were also present at the march, wearing campaign hats and waving American flags. Initial disagreements between the two groups were short and the counter-protestors were widely ignored by marchers.
Called a “National Day of Action Against Racism and Student Debt,” the march demanded the UC divest from prisons and invest in local communities. Marchers called for UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla to resign, citing his large salary and failure to create a welcoming campus for students from marginalized communities. In July 2015, the UC Board of Regents gave pay raises to several high-ranking executives. Khosla received a 3 percent raise, increasing his base pay to $436,120.
Kelsey Lyons, a UCSD student, participated in the march holding a sign that read “Boot Napolitano.”
“My sign is in regards to current UC administration, which is abhorrent and parasitic, at best, but the protest was about something much bigger. Yes, we were protesting for the abolition of student debt, but that is only one step toward ending systemic oppression, based in racism, sexism, and xenophobia. We’re fighting for the lower 99 percent of Americans.”
“Students demonstrated that attacks against vulnerable campus populations are not and will not be met with silence, but with solidarity,” said Aman Birk, Revelle college senior and a member of Socialist Alternative at UCSD, an organization which helped organize the event. “The Million Student March and its affiliated groups are here to stay; expect us to continue the fight for free, accessible, and inclusive higher education.”