By Melissa Hurtado and John Ferrannini
American River College students marched from Raley Field to the Capitol in downtown Sacramento as part of the sixth March in March after months of planning from the Associated Student Body Student Senate.
Instead of looking ahead at the Capitol in hopes of giving ARC students a more affordable college experience, Student Senate President Kenneth Hinton looked down at his cellphone for a majority of the march.
Five students marched from Raley Field to the Capitol and nine more joined to watch speeches on the Capitol’s South Lawn.
The students who attended the march met in the Center for Leadership and Development at 7:30 a.m. and left in a charter bus to Raley Field about 40 minutes later.
The bus traveled less than fourteen miles with a total of 9 passengers, two of whom were reporters from The Current. It was funded by Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, along with two paratransit vans, to the tune of $950.
The idea to use public transportation and utilize the free bus pases available to all students was shut down in a Student Senate meeting.
“Regional Transit has issues of its complete own accord that, as an organization, we would be taking on if we chose to use that as our primary means of transportation, especially for that many people at one time” argued Clubs and Events Board President Jeremy Diefenbacher.
Diefenbacher didn’t have to deal with these “issues” however, as he did not attend the March in March.
Some students rode in the Paratransit vans and others drove their car to the Capitol.
The board passed a bill on January 30 that allocated $4,500 to funding the March in March.
That funding came from the student representation account, whose stated mission is for “items solely for the purpose of student advocacy.”
After several attempts from The Current requesting information regarding final amount spent, the board said they would not be able to get us their finalized numbers for a few more weeks.
The board did present a business plan that was approved at the last reading of the bill, when the bill was passed unanimously despite lacking financial details about food prices and signs.
The business plan lacks information regarding how much was allocated to food or signs.
After passing the bill and seeing the business plan, the board decided not to spend money on having new signs made. They instead said they would be recycling old ones but showed up empty handed to the march.
The board was unable to give us the final receipts and the total amount that was spent beyond approximately $55 for tie dye materials. This leaves approximately $4,445 unaccounted for.
The business plan has not been updated for more specific information as of Monday, March 10.
Less students showed up to the March in March than in previous years.
“It was a very very small turnout this year,” said ASB adviser Tanika Byrd, about both the March itself and ARC’s participation.
Byrd said that this event would give ASB an opportunity to interact with other student leaders as part of a larger community.
March in March gives them a “chance to also advocate for the things that they are in agreeance on, so i think it’s really important for community” said adviser Byrd.
Hinton told The Current that he would be advocating for cheaper textbooks, however he did not attend Lobby Day in the beginning of February and did not make any appointments to lobby at March in March.
This is in spite of a statement he made that “It’s one of the best feelings to march in there and lobby Congress (the State Legislature) on behalf of the students.”
When asked what proposals he had in order to make textbooks more affordable, he said “I don’t remember, because it was on our Lobby Day white paper, off the top of my head. But it’s in my office.”
Only one Senator, Laurie Jones, did any lobbying that day. She talked to assemblymen Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento). She advocated for more benefits for adjunct faculty.
Hinton thought that the March in March was a complete success. “I think it went phenomenal,” he said.