SMC and the seven deadly sins
Incited by the popular propaganda surrounding details of the contingency plan of the “Dooms Day Budget” should Prop 30 fail to pass this November, and the sudden elimination of the winter session, police officers remained on high alert and watched the protests on Thursday night, ready to take whatever action necessary to keep the meeting peaceful.
“Yes, we have a few more officers here than last time,” said Officer Cadena, referring to the pepper-spraying incident last April (Cadena declined to provide his first name for this article).
However, when the trustees finally sat down at 7:30 p.m., they were already guilty of a crime.
“Why is this meeting being held so late? Are you trying to keep us from attending?” Demanded a student of the trustees in a packed auditorium.
For the rest of the evening, the trustees remained impressively cool under near-constant fire from the public.
“Michael, will you please face us and not give us your back?” Board chair Margaret Quinones-Perez asked of Michael Pronilover, the unofficial leader of the student protest, who together with his group of about 80 students, claimed to represent the common plight of the SMC student body.
However, Pronilover’s delinquent behavior was clearly expressed in his body language, as he did not turn to face the trustees on stage. Throughout the evening, Dr. Nancy Greenstein, the Board’s vice chair, was acting like an adult addressing a naughty child with tantrums at a formal affair.
She continued to use a firm tone, yet softened when she gave diplomatic compliments of how well the students behaved.
Indeed, the protestors left much to be desired. “I’m here because I care about my education, and I am very worried, but not really with them,” said SMC student Kevin Perez when he happened to walk nearby the protests on his way to class. Although Pronilover had no comment for The Corsair on the demonstrations, he did however have a lot to say to everyone else.
“A small number of us is [sic] not enough. We all need to come together department by department and take back our school,” said Pronilover, who was followed by students chanting “This is our school! We want it back!”
Rob Rader, a member of the board, said that, “We made the decision based on our self preservation. I am very sympathetic to the grievances aired at the meeting because, yes, we did have it better. It cost less coming here than to attend UCLA, and we had great job prospects. But I am disappointed by the rude attitudes displayed by students concerning our final decision. This is at its root a generational disappointment.”
Envy seemed to be the underlining theme, as students came up and addressed the trustees very strongly, accusing them of gross gluttony.
The panel guest speakers accused the BOT of getting 60 percent pay raises, not offering to retire from their BOT jobs to save money, and making more money as a BOT member, than President Obama. In reality, however, not only are those desires and accusations completely unfair and offensive, they are untrue.
The trustees are on a voluntary position, and each earns a monthly stipend of about $400, an amount that should give these students pause over their own ignorance. Any success achieved in their past is due to their varied professions—not by making SMC “their piggy bank.”
These students themselves have very high demands, without fully understanding the situation. Rader mused over how students could claim their right to an education, but choose to completely ignore the massive financial and management structures required for this right to be realized.
In a show of sheer sloth, the rest of the student body is comfortable being represented by a handful of protestors on issues that effect them so radically.
Bruce Smith, SMC Public Relations Officer, said that the budget cuts and getting rid of the winter session “was the least painful of [their] solutions,” since many California Community Colleges don’t even offer a winter session, and that SMC had no choice but to cut its thread from the chain of the school’s annual semesters.
Meanwhile, the frenzy on the SMC campuses, which may be described as an urgent desire to get into any available classes and to graduate on time, has students continuing to hope against hope that Prop 30 is the magic wand.