By Marco Siler-Gonzales
Led by a loud chorus of chants and songs, students rallied in front of Conlan Hall on Jan. 12, calling for the construction of the $88 million Performing Arts Education Center, (PAEC).
Student leaders of the Performing Arts Education Club, Dan Choi and Howard Scheiman, led more than 25 protesters comprised of students and faculty at 4 p.m. at the Ocean Campus.
San Francisco voters approved bond measures in 2002 and 2006 to finance construction of the center, but Special Trustee Dr. Robert Agrella cancelled the project on Sept. 17 , 2013.
Protesters and administrators met on the second floor stairwell of Conlan Hall where Choi passionately articulated the need for independent representation regarding the financial responsibility over the Performing Arts Center.
“We will demand until we get this, it is a restoration of our taxation with representation” Choi said. “ It is our money, not your money. Our education, our future is not something for you to play with.”
Choi and the Performing Arts Education Club believe the accreditation crisis is a
shallow excuse for the lack of education equality for performing arts students.
Newly appointed administrator and spokesperson, Michael Poindexter, said the administration is open to listening and responding to students at the appropriate time.
“We want to listen to the voice of the students. If the students are saying that’s a need for them, we want to address that need.”
As far as the money is concerned, Poindexter said the college adhered to other mandates that must be met. “We can’t build buildings and hope that other things will come. I’m going to have to read that bill a little more closely, but usually it doesn’t cover what’s inside the building.”
Adina Pernell, PAEC’s outreach and communications director, said, “We’re trying to get a lot of people together from other departments because it will benefit these departments as well. Anyone with a Performance Arts major will have a place to perform, practice, and grow. Currently, we are scrambling for resources.”
Various departments and student clubs did appear to show their support. Mike Sierra, of the Mechxa Club and the Diversity Collaborative Group that supports a solidarity movement aimed to uplift marginalized student interests, said, “Instead of going in 100 different directions, we decided to intertwine together and be more proactive. We just have a choice to accept things the way they are or accept the responsibility to change them.”