So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

College students to dress like zombies and march for Prop. 30 in 'The Walking Debt'

The Walking Debt, Prop. 30

Student Senate for California Community Colleges

Community college students will dress up like zombies Friday Oct. 26, 2012, and walk from L.A. City Hall to the governor's Downtown office in support of Prop. 30.

California Community College students are planning to dress up like zombies Friday afternoon and take part in "The Walking Debt" — a march from L.A. City Hall to the governor's Downtown office in support of Prop. 30 and education funding.

Students from the Los Angeles Community College District's nine campuses, Pasadena City College and campuses throughout Southern California plan to meet at noon dressed as zombies at L.A. Trade Technical College before starting "The Walking Debt." (A play on "Walking Dead," for those who didn't get it.)

The event has been primarily publicized through social media, with Facebook events and messages tying state funding cuts to Halloween.

“There’s an audience of people that would be involved politically if it was more interesting, and its been very difficult to reach that audience…The idea is to try to get people that would otherwise be uninterested on board,” said PCC student John Fraser, president of Region 7 of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.

Facebook events have called it a “zombie run” and tell students to “beware”: “Zombies will attempt to prevent us from achieving our goals with their insidious debt and lack of funds! Will you make it through the end?”

“The zombies will be metaphorically representing cuts and each time someone is prevented from moving forward there will be a different obstacle," Fraser said. "For example, due to class cuts they will be unable to achieve the things in life they want to or be able to get a job, some of them will end up in prison.”

Prop. 30 aims to avert roughly $6 billion in education cuts written into the approved state budget by progressively increasing the income tax on people making $250,000 or more, and adding a quarter-cent to sales tax — the equivalent of a penny on a $4 latte.

Public colleges and school districts across the state have worked to inform students, parents and the community about the impact of $20 billion in cuts to education funding over the last four years. L.A. Unified as well as other districts worked to increase voter registration for those 18 or older.

The California State Student Assn., which represents 430,000 CSU students at 23 campuses statewide, announced Thursday that it had completed a "major systemwide voter registration effort" that resulted in 31,372 new voters.

From their announcement:

Campuses from San Diego to Humboldt participated in the bold initiative, recognizing that this election will directly impact CSU students. Each of the campuses agreed on a goal of registering 10 percent of its student population. San Diego State and San Francisco State led the CSU by registering 4,413 and 4,060, respectively. Other campuses that registered more than 10% include CSU Chico, Humboldt State, Cal Maritime Academy, CSU San Marcos and Sonoma State. 

Such voter education efforts have worried some groups who believe educators are stepping across the ethical line and advocating for these measures. According to state law, public funds or resources cannot be used for political campaigning. 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. filed suit against Cal State Monterey Bay over an email sent by a professor urging students to support Prop. 30. CSU officials agreed that the professor had crossed the line and said they would take "appropriate" action.

Read more: Cal State Monterey Bay sued over pro-Prop. 30 email

At PCC: Confusion and complacency on Prop. 30

Confused about Prop. 30 and Prop. 38? Visit KPCC's political blog Represent! or listen to the experts talk with Larry Mantle on AirTalkKPCC's education blog Pass/Fail will also be doing an analysis prior to the election, so stay tuned. (And in case you're having trouble finding it — here's the text and the LAO analysis.)

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).

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