You’ll Always Remember Your First Furlough Fest

The Los Angeles Times reports on a rather grim scene in Fullerton, California:

The busload of future college students from Whittier High School who took a field trip Wednesday to Cal State Fullerton got less — and more — than they were expecting.

They didn’t get a feel for student life on campus because there was hardly any.

But they did receive an unexpected lesson on the state’s budget crisis, thanks to a three-day faculty furlough and the cancellation of most classes — part of a broad plan of cuts and student fee increases to stem the university’s $36.7-million shortfall.

At least some students are making the most of it:

Nearby, another group of loosely knit students had set up tents in the grass next to Becker Amphitheatre and invited others through a Facebook page to “Furlough Fest . . . 3 days of fun, creativity, and communal resistance to corporatized education.”

Neither the cops nor the administration interfered with the unauthorized camp-out.

“I was surprised we weren’t hassled,” said Rodrigo Calderon, 25, a senior art major who was among dozens who spent the night. “I was looking forward to a hassle.”

What they got instead were bands and DJs performing until 3 a.m., games of hide-and-seek and dodge ball, and student-led workshops on poetry, how to run a record label, the coming insurrection and do-it-yourself adult toys.

Now if the could only monetize those activities somehow and donate the proceeds to their economically eviscerated university, they’d be all set.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.