Students kick off March 4 early
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Chronology of Protest Party
9:30 p.m.: approximately 30 people gathered in Malcolm X Plaza and began a party in protest of budget cuts

10:00 p.m.: partygoers made their way through Cesar Chavez Student Center, past the Ethnic Studies building and toward the Humanities building

10:08 p.m.: participants moved into buildings B and C in the Village at Centennial Square, located on campus, to gather more students

10:17 p.m.: they attempted to enter the Towers at Centennial Square, but were unsuccessful

10:31 p.m.: people danced through traffic on Lake Merced Boulevard

11:20 p.m.: the group grew to approximately 200 people

12:15 a.m.: participants attempted to storm and barricade Burk Hall

12:23 a.m.: others climbed onto the roof of the student union and danced, graffiti appeared and a pair of students introduced firecrackers to the party

1:50 a.m.: the demonstration ended

In the early morning hours of March 4 people attending a party to gear up for protests later in the day stormed Burk Hall in what appeared to be an attempted takeover of the building.

At 12:15 a.m., some partygoers broke off from the larger group of students moving around campus to set up barricades in Burk Hall. They were removed within minutes as the protesters lost interest and moved on toward the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

The dance party, which stared around 9:30 p.m. on March 3, was organized by students to encourage participation in statewide rallies in support of public education, which has been hard hit by state budget cuts.

The party travelled as far as Lake Merced Boulevard and gathered crowds ranging from 30 to 200 participants.

"I could hear it on the fourth floor in Thornton Hall," senior Chantelle Icaza said as she walked through Malcolm X Plaza, where the party started, on her way home from class.

After moving through on-campus housing and around Lake Merced Boulevard, the party stopped between Burk Hall and the student center as participants went from walking to dancing. A number of students stripped off their shirts before climbing onto the student center to get more dancing space.

"I was set back an entire year of study because of the budget cuts," marine biology student Mike Ebelher, 21, said as he took a break from dancing.

Meanwhile, one person was spotted spray painting "This is the life" across three panels above Jessie's Hot House and Carmelina La Petite. The slogan was also spotted on the walkway between the student center and Burk Hall and on the Fine Arts building.

An individual was taken away in relation to the graffiti, although it is currently unknown whether he is being charged with vandalism or not.

Firecrackers were also set off during the party, with a small bottle rocket sent into the crowd by two men near stairs above the student center. Partygoers were unfazed by the distraction.

However, not everyone thought the demonstration was beneficial to students.

"It's counterproductive," Jewel Bucahanan-Boone, 18, said. "Why would you have a pre-protest for a protest that's going to happen tomorrow and disrupt people's studying in the first place, for the classes they can barely get into in the first place."

Other onlookers echoed the sentiment as well while adding that the party had lost its vision.

"While I'd like to support citizens' freedom of speech, this has turned into a glorified party doing more hard to our school's image than demonstrate our solidarity against budget cuts," communications major Winston Parsons said.

"I don't think it's going to accomplish anything," business major Frank Kermani said.

At 1:50 a.m. the dancing stopped as swiftly as it began. In a matter of minutes, the few remaining supporters and the sound system supporting them rolled off into the night with a little help from a small group of students.



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Marina Forte | staff photographer
Students participate in a dance party protesting budget cuts near S.F. State's Centennial Square on March 3rd, 2010.





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