“We want quarters, where are our supporters?” the group chanted to students lounging in the sun on Dexter Lawn.
But Pixy Stix, free hugs and the opportunity to speak on a megaphone did not excite Cal Poly students to join the protest against semesters this past Thursday.
In an online poll of 7,250 students put on by Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), 89.9 percent voted to keep Cal Poly on the quarter system, but one could count the number of activists at the protest on fingers and toes.
“The reason people voted for quarters was because they thought it would effect us, and now that the changes are happening in 10 years, no one cares,” construction management junior Tyler Menard said at the protest.
Menard’s sentiments were echoed among other students who chose to sit on the grass rather than join the demonstration. The nice weather kept city and regional planning junior Andrew Levins situated on the lawn. Even though he voted in favor of quarters, the group of protestors was too small to make a difference in changing the chancellor’s decision, Levins said.
“They took our vote and then we were told (the decision) is inevitable and they just did it,” Levins said. “The chancellor coming isn’t to ask us what we think, it just looks good on paper.”
Other non-protesting students said they might join if they didn’t have to deal with the academic constraints of week five. Psychology junior Carissa Lane said she might have joined if she didn’t have to go to class and take a midterm within the hour. She also mentioned that even though the vote indicated students favored quarters, all decision making was done without regard to student opinion.
“I don’t feel like I have a voice,” she said. “If I protested, it wouldn’t do anything.”
Those who did protest repeatedly passed out flyers about their stance against quarters and asked students who walked by to join them in the demonstration. Business administration senior Alex Schafle actively approached groups of students on Dexter Lawn with a handful of Pixy Stix in efforts to increase the number of students involved in the rally.
“If they are going to ask us for our opinion, they should probably take it seriously,” she said. “Personally I don’t care about semesters versus quarters, but the fact they didn’t listen to us bothers me.”