Members of a youth organization called Strike! displayed three large banners protesting budget cuts at Santa Rosa Junior College on Monday, the first day of the fall semester.
"WTF! Where's The Funding?" was emblazoned on the banner attached to the second-floor railing in front of the Frank P. Doyle Library at 11:45 a.m. as hundreds of students walked through and milled in the area.
"I like it," said Mara McLeester of Santa Rosa, who said she's been working toward a nursing degree for six years and had trouble enrolling in prerequisite classes, such as math and chemistry, because of the cuts.
Steven Ballard of Cotati, a student since 2008, snapped a photo of the banner. "They're not giving us any money to learn," he said. "Education is being shortchanged — by a lot."
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott said Monday that finances for the system of 2.76 million students may worsen in December with an additional $30 million funding cut and another boost to student fees.
Jay Scherf of Santa Rosa, a sophomore, said the youth group, largely consisting of SRJC students, was formed six months ago.
The group considers educational spending cuts as "part of the larger historical attack by the super-wealthy corporate class on the rights and services of the working class," according to a written statement.
A banner hung from the Health Sciences Building said: "Budget Cuts Are Class War." A third banner was displayed on the parking garage along Mendocino Avenue.
Scherf said he was expecting the banners to be removed within minutes, but there had been immediate response by officials.
Strike! is planning a teach-in on budget cuts and organizing during the week of Sept. 11-18 at a venue near the campus, he said.
State budget cuts prompted SRJC to reduce the number of class sections it offers by nearly 8 percent since last fall, said Doug Roberts, vice president of business services.
Community college funding for the 2011-12 academic year was cut $400 million and fees raised by $10 to $36 per unit, amounting to $1,080 a year for fulltime students.
Scott warned Monday that the system's "financial situation is dire" and may worsen in December if state revenues fall more than $1 billion below projections. In that case, he said, community colleges would lose $30 million and fees would be boosted to $46 per unit next spring.