this, and lots more, is what's going on at my home university right now:
students are getting out of the classrooms to march, block entrances to campus, and occupy buildings, to protest, among other things, the 32% - read: major - fee hikes that are being imposed on us in order to pay for the university of california, "one of the world's top research universities", to be run like a corporation, selling bonds and raising administrators' salaries as our classes, faculty, and student housing are cut dramatically. as of last year, the number of art, music, and humanities classes were cut dramatically, professors who were untenured despite having taught at UCSC for over twenty years were "let go", and the number of freshman students admitted was even severely reduced.
as a student at UCSC - probably one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, i mean, look: the ocean is right there - it's sometimes hard to remember that although we live in a beautiful bubble, not everything is perfect. our campus is known for "activism" that takes the form of people moving into trees to protest construction that unfortunately has already been approved years previously. but in this case, my colleagues are working with students of the entire wider UC - indeed, the entire fucking state - to effect change. oh, change is a word we've been tossing around a lot lately. you could say the entire US presidential election of 2008 hinged on that word.
so it feels pretty strange to be here in calm, quiet denmark while all this is going on at home. admittedly, it's a good time not to be in california. i wouldn't have any better luck finding a job there than i'm having here, as unemployment in my home state has soared to over 12%. walking by copenhagen's parliament building today, i heard some recorded reggae music booming across the square from a van with a sign hanging from it: "yes to democracy, no to police state." that's all very well and fine, but i am not convinced that hanging a flag from your van, playing bad reggae, and drinking free samples of redbull that the cute girls up the street are handing out to each and every passer-by is really going to make the politicians listen, let alone bring an end to this sick form of "democracy". not that my fellow students are managing to get a whole lot done at my school, but things can only improve from here, right? last i read, the UC regents approved the 32% tuition hikes. and that's just the tip of the iceberg.