13 arrested at S.F. protest against state school cuts 

click to enlarge Police arrested 13 protesters after they refused to leave a state office building Thursday. Around 300 people rallied in Civic Center Plaza. - JOSEPH SCHELL/SPECIAL TO THE SF EXAMINER
  • Joseph Schell/Special to The SF Examiner
  • Police arrested 13 protesters after they refused to leave a state office building Thursday. Around 300 people rallied in Civic Center Plaza.

Some 300 people gathered in Civic Center Plaza on Thursday afternoon to demand that California tax the rich to pay for education, as school districts and public colleges prepare for another year of cuts and layoffs.

After the rally, 13 protesters were arrested when they refused to leave the atrium of the nearby state office building until their demands that California fully fund education were met.

“I find it appalling that California is reneging on its promise to educate its citizens,” said Wendy Kaufmyn, an engineering instructor at City College of San Francisco and one of the protesters who remained in the building after the California Highway Patrol ordered them to leave.

Tony Tam, a CHP spokesman, said the 13 protesters were cited for trespassing and released.

In Civic Center Plaza, teachers, college students, Occupy SF members and families shouted slogans and waved signs as speakers from unions and activist groups denounced California’s budget cuts.

“Basically, they’ve robbed us of our education,” said Goyette Williams, 17, a Burton High School junior who spoke to the crowd along with a contingent of minority teens organized by the nonprofit Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth.

Williams, like many young people in the crowd, said she was unhappy about cuts to San Francisco public schools and worried that she would not be able to afford a college education in this era of increasing tuition.

“By stealing all of our resources, they’re taking away our opportunity to go to college,” Williams said.

Sofia Elias, a San Francisco State University junior, said she was a first-generation college student struggling to pay her bills while working full time as a cashier.

“It’s been very tough,” she said. “The tuition increase, that’s more money I have to take out in loans.”

The San Francisco demonstration was part of a nationwide series of protests against cuts to education, organized by Occupy Wall Street, its local affiliates and student groups. At UC Santa Cruz, protesters shut down the campus, preventing employees from getting to work and forcing the university to cancel classes.

Bay Area college students were planning to spend the weekend marching to Sacramento, where demonstrations are planned for Monday


Bay City News contributed to this report.

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