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Professors to Hold "Support Our Students" Rally

Submitted to the college by professors Phil Saenz and Alejandro Orozco

Who

Support Our Students (SOS), is a coalition of professors and students based at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. Phil Saenz, Professor of Political Science and Alejandro Orozco, Professor of Philosophy, are the faculty organizers of the event.

What

SOS will hold a rally to address ways to deal with the following: costs and funding in education, tuition increases, rising book costs, the practice of publishers changing editions without any significant changes, and, student loan and financial aid issues. A major component of the rally is a campus-wide voter registration drive accompanied by a signature drive to help qualify an initiative to fund education through a tax on oil companies. The initiative contains a provision that prevents the costs from being passed on to consumers.

Goals

The goals are to educate and motivate students, educators, parents and taxpayers throughout the state to actively work together to demand a temporary freeze on tuition and to support a viable alternative that provides a permanent funding source to support our schools. Professor Saenz and Orozco point to the fact that tuition has tripled in the last decade for the UC schools; increased by 22% over the last two years at Cal State Schools, and has gone from $26 to $36 at the Community college level. There is the distinct possibility of further increases coupled with a reduction in class offerings for the upcoming term. SOS has established permanent voter registration on campus and will be working on a statewide effort to gather the required 504,760 signatures to qualify the oil initiative before the March 19th, 2012 deadline.

Professors Saenz and Orozco are also asking that the final decision to raise tuition should be left to a 2/3 vote in the state legislature and not political appointees. At Southwestern College they are also asking that textbooks and required materials be purchased tax free or with a lower sales tax to help struggling students with overall education costs. Saenz and Orozco are also proposing that SWC faculty work collectively to prevent publishers from changing textbook editions unless there are substantive changes that warrant a new edition. They want publishers to provide 5 free copies of their texts so that students who cannot afford them may access them at the library. They will be making a push to control prices by encouraging the use of electronic publications. Furthermore, they are requesting the instructors who produce their own reading materials to offer these materials free of charge to students.

They will approach the Associated Student Organization to expand their "Book Rental" program by using some of the $500,000.00 they have in reserves from student dues. Lastly, they along with students, will coordinate a "Student Store" that would run similar to Craigs list where students can buy and sell amongst themselves without inflated prices or taxes.
SOS will also try to assist the Financial Aid Office to expedite their loan processing time by securing funding for additional workers and they will also lobby legislators for more favorable loans for students.

SOS is trying to create a modern day educational grassroots effort by directing students to communicate on Facebook and by text-messaging while providing links to voter registration and educational materials.

SOS will be trying to get official endorsements and support from the representatives representing the Southwestern Community College District as well as educators and concerned members of the community.

When

11 a.m.-12 noon Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where

Cafeteria Patio (or Room 751 in case of inclement weather)
Southwestern College
900 Otay Lakes Rd.
Chula Vista, CA 91910-7299
Driving directions and map at swccd.edu/map

More information

Contact: Prof. Phil Saenz, (619) 421-6700, ext. 5869 or psaenz@swccd.edu. Or Professor Alejandro Orozco ext. 5643 or aorozco@swccd.edu.

About Southwestern College

Accredited since 1964, Southwestern College is the only public institution of higher education in southern San Diego County, serving approximately 400,000 residents of communities including Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Nestor, Otay Mesa, Palm City, San Ysidro, Sunnyside and Coronado. The College District offers more than 300 associate degree and certificate options. More information at swccd.edu.