Last night, I received the following from an SWC student. Frustrated at the current administration, “they” explained that they feel that the students’ voices have been ignored by the administration and the Board through all that has gone on. The student, going by the name of “SOSWC Student Blogger,” has no connection with the Save Our SWC blog, and has asked for a chance to be heard.
I’m all for it. The bottom line is: President Raj K. Chopra has made a very bad choice in his decision to cut classes. Southwestern College will lose many professors, and it will probably lose thousands of students. I’m delighted that so many of these affected students have become involved in the protests and rallies, and I’m happy to provide a bit of online real estate for them to be heard.
I’ve formatted this to fit the blog, but I have changed no content. The letter’s words are the words of the student, not mine.
“October 22, 2009 will be the day that changed the community of Southwestern College forever. Most students and faculty gathered around this so called “free speech” zone to voice their concerns on recent budget cuts and staff layoffs. As one courageous student stood out and spoke, “let’s take it to where they can hear us,” students and faculty were marching to President Chopra’s office to meet face to face with him, so they thought. Students were confronted by a blockade of SWC police officers, as a crowd of onlookers from the side watched. After the crowd of students dispersed about a half hour after the rally was supposed to be over, the war on education began. This is certainly a “slap in the face” for all who were affected by the administration’s move to suspend the “SWC Three” the day after the rally took place. It personally affected me in more ways than one.
I would like to take a moment and say the following to all the members of the Governing Board, the administration, and especially to President Chopra:
‘Why did you have to make matters worse by threatening the “SWC Three” with criminal charges, when it shouldn’t have been done in the first place? Why did it have to be until three weeks later that we hear that the charges are being dropped, especially in the form of a letter that was sent an hour before the Free Speech Rally? Was this an attempt from you to have us cancel the rally? I say that sending that letter was a cowardly move. We would all like to hear a public apology, especially from you, President Chopra. It was unfair, unjust, and flat out wrong what you did, and you know that. Until then, we the students and faculty of SWC will not give up…until our voices finally reach you and you decide to answer us…’
SWC is the starting point of abolishing unconstitutional free speech areas in community colleges and universities in the state of California and around the nation. This goal cannot be reached alone. Together, students, faculty, and community members can step up and make a difference.
--SOSWC Student Blogger
P.S. To all the students out there supporting this cause: You guys are doing a fantastic job. With brilliant minds and kind hearts, we can fight this war and win it! Keep it up, and if all else fails, ‘try and try again.’”