Los Angeles, Calif.—The announcement that George W. Bush won the 2004 presidential election was followed by more than simple distress among University of California Los Angeles students.
On Thursday, November 4th, the day immediately following the concession speech of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, Concerned Students of UCLA held a one hour long rally they called “Not Our President! Our government, our people, our rights.” The anti-Bush rally took place on campus at Meyerhoff Park, one of the main locations for students to hold rallies and events, and drew a crowd of approximately 200 hundred people.
The rally consisted of various student speakers advocating the continuation of the “fight” to oppose the policies of the Bush administration, despite his re-election into office. Students in the audience applauded the speakers with loud cheers, and continuously yelled the chant “Move Bush, Get Out The Way!” The organizers of the event, Concerned Students of UCLA, is a group composed of many student groups from UCLA, ranging from that of the African Student Union to the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and the Asian Pacific Coalition.
Satomi Zeigler, a member of Concerned Students of UCLA as well as of the Asian Pacific Coalition and of Concerned Asian Pacific Islanders Students for Action, said that members of Concerned Students are tired of “politicians not representing all people.” Zeigler also explained that the rally was essentially of an anti-American government nature in general; “either way if Bush or Kerry won, the rally still would have happened…it’s against a system that’s corrupt, that claims itself [to be] democratic.”
Concerned Students hope to translate their political frustrations into concrete, viable changes on UC campuses. Zeigler stated particular items on their agenda, include the utilization of “alternative admissions,” a committee working towards “open admissions,” which would provide for more kids from underprivileged neighborhoods access into UCLA. Zeigler described such a plan as having the intent to “tear down the master plan of education,” as she criticized the UC schools’ failure to “recognize disparity between communities.”
Zeigler additionally noted the complaints of specific ethnic groups on campus. Speaking on behalf of the frustrations of the African Student Union, Zeigler said that “more than half [of African-American students are] admitted on an athletic scholarship – that’s ridiculous.”
Although Concerned Students at UCLA is made up of many different student groups, Zeigler noted that the involved students “have similar struggles [and] histories,” and they additionally agree upon the notion that their frustrations are due to “the policies they [the government] write, and the rules they set…it’s really sneaky.”
Jennifer Dekel, an intern at Accuracy in Academia last year, attended UCLA.