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Jun 10, 2005 - 01:55 PM

Arnold Pecks Away At Free Speech

by Trevor Dilling, Student
As a Santa Monica City College student leaving in the fall for Berkeley, I'm going to Tuesday's graduation ceremonies to support my friends. Since the governor is the commencement speaker, I will also be wearing a chicken suit, because Arnold is too chicken to talk to students about why he's hiking student fees and cutting education funding.

I would like to attend graduation for my friends but I've run into a little problem. We're being asked to shut up. The administration has announced, for the first time ever, that no pins, banners, signs, or any expression of dissent will be tolerated. Apparently, the new anti-speech policy at SMC was instituted just for the Gov., who refuses to listen to anyone but his big industry donors. I've even heard that they're shutting down the parking structure with one day left of school, patting down guests and graduates and making them pass through metal detectors.

I know personally just what Arnold's cuts to education mean. I left a well paying, stable job, to go back to school full time. Because of my old job, my income level was too high to qualify for any financial aid. Over the last year I made under $11,000, struggle to make rent every month, and just recently had my phone turned off. All this to become what Arnold calls a special interest: a teacher.

I always thought the cornerstone of education was the right to think and speak freely. But it's clear Arnold thinks differently. He's too chicken to face students and answer for policies that have hurt us by raising fees, diminishing grants and cutting funding for education.

I have a ticket to attend graduation but if Arnold and his goons guarding the chicken coup won't let me in, I'll be outside the gates with a message for Arnold: "Go Cluck Yourself."

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