March 4, 2010: The Untold Story of Student Activism at CSUNFeb 11th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Activismo / Activism, Artículos destacados, Audio, Documentales / documentary, English-language stories, podcast Tweet
This audio documentary presents a more accurate account of the student protest that took place on March 4, 2010 at CSUN. The documentary is based on the unpublished testimony of students and faculty members who participated in the statewide day of action.
By DWAYNE KEY
Original protest sound: JOSÉ E. RAMÍREZ
Photos courtesy of BRITTNEY BARILLAS
EL NUEVO SOL
On March 4, 2010, students and faculty members on a number of campuses across California participated in protests and demonstrations in order to voice their opinions on issues revolving around their education. Thanks to the California Faculty Association and a number of other campus organizations, March 4 was designated as a statewide day of action. Students and faculty members at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), came together on that day in order to protest the recent budget cuts and tuition increases that had been implemented. As a result of the budget cuts, class sections were being dropped forcing many students to sit in on classes in hopes that seats become available, while others looked for education at nearby community colleges.
Because of the lower availability of classes and tuition increases, students found themselves paying more for less. Faculty members also felt the effects of the budget crisis. Teachers were forced to take unpaid days off known as furlough days which resulted in a 10% cut of their salaries.
In order to voice their discontent with the situation students and faculty members joined forces in an all-day protest that began with marches on campus and ended with a mass sit in at the corner of Prairie Street and Reseda Boulevard. Police officers in full riot gear met head to head with students and faculty members at the intersection. Some students were shocked to see how much law enforcement was present at the protest, while others were outraged that police arrived dressed in full riot gear as if to portray the action as a riot. Police officers then attempted to disperse the crowd of several thousand students, but were not successful until after the arrests of five students and the breaking of a 73 year old professor’s arm.
The goal of this documentary is to inform the community, on a local and national level, about the events that took place March 4, 2010 at CSUN. Mainstream media outlets have a tendency to skew events that have taken place at protests by relying heavily on official sources such as administrators and law enforcement.
In an attempt to shed light on what took place on March 4 from a participant point of view, this documentary consists of interviews and accounts solely from the students and faculty members who participated in the action on that day. Professor María Elena Fernández of the Chicana/o Studies Department participated in the action on March 4 and remembers how mainstream news outlets were reporting false facts.
Professor Fernández had this to share, “I was sitting in Emle’s restaurant with my colleagues on the corner of Reseda and Prairie where the post-march sit-in of the intersection took place. The restaurant has windows for walls so we could see perfectly the interaction between police and students that consisted of verbal exchanges. At the same time on the TV in the restaurant channel 5 news was reporting that students were throwing sticks and bottles. I was furious at this complete misrepresentation communicated to the public.”
Professor Fernández went on to say that the following semester, a student in one of her classes expressed disdain towards student activists based upon initial mainstream news coverage of the March 4 events.
This is an excellent example of how news coverage of protests tends to focus on violence and conflict as opposed to the actual issues causing the protests. Initial coverage of the March 4 events at CSUN, highlighted the action as a “police versus student” conflict without any regard for what was really taking place on campus. This documentary serves to illustrate why students and faculty members took to the streets, what events took place that day, and what positive effects the March 4 day of action had on the campus of CSUN.
Listen to the audio documentary:
More ENS coverage of the March 4, 2010 events and the CSUN 6 case:
- Video of CSUN Rally in the Valley, by Paul Laverack
- Civil Rights Pioneer Addresses Students at CSUN Day of Action , by Paul Laverack
- Students, Faculty and Community Show Support for the CSUN 6, by Julissa Reyes