Wednesday, April 13, 2011


2011-04-13 "Students rally to take action" by Kendall Fedor, Asst. News Editor, with additional reporting by Sara Jane Pohlman from "Sonoma State Star" newspaper
Students, faculty and staff gathered in Stevenson Quad at noon to once again protest budget cuts to the California State University (CSU) system. The CSU faces a $500 million cut, with Sonoma State losing anywhere between $7.5 million to $15 million.
"We did not create this crisis, so why are being expected to pay for it," asked Alix Shants, student president of Napa Valley Junior College. The message the both speakers and attendees wanted heard was that SSU is not going to accept these cuts without a fight. A group of students stood on the stage that had been built and make their personal declarations for why they were participating in the rally.
One of the biggest subjects of the event was Chancellor Charles Reed, who many felt should resign his post in order to help alleviate the financial burden of the CSUs. Many of the popular chants heard from students, faculty and staff involved Reed's supposed greed, his call for cut backs and the idea that his pocket's are lined with gold.
Some students came to the rally to show their support for SSU, yet did not sign any of the postcards that were being circulated to show unity against the cuts and Reed.
"I think it's important to demand a quality education," said Kelley Zaino, a senior and Hutchins major. "However I'm not going to sign because I don't think we should be personally attacking someone. It's like hurting someone because they hurt you."
Other students like Erica Hosch, co-president of Students for Quality Education (SQE), believe that it is the campus's job to stand against the cut. Students need to stay inspired and stay ambitious Hosch answered as to why SQE was participating in the event. Professors came out in full cap and gown to show their support of the gathering, wearing signs that read, "This is what a public employee looks like" and "I stand with the Wisconsin workers."
"We are here to advocate for solutions," said David McCuan, associate professor of political science.
At about 1:30 p.m., a group marched to Salazar where they continued to chant before separating into two small groups to discuss the budget. President ArminaƱa was not on campus to meet with the protestors, but Saied Rahimi, interim provost came down to discuss with the protestors.
"I fully support why you are here," said Rahimi, seated in an office chair outside Seawolf Services Center. "The magnitude of the cuts is far bigger than what you (students) are talking about." Rahimi continued to speak about how SQE and others gathered in the hall were unaware how administrators were hurting just as badly as the rest of the campus.
"Assuming the administration is not worried about the cuts is false," said Rahimi. "We need to join forces, the faculty, staff and students."
Daniella Di Pol, SQE co- president, and Hosch shared their list of demands with Rahimi, who said he would be happy to meet with each of them at a later date to discuss them in full if they had a member of Associated Students, Inc., senate with them. The leaders of SQE hope to arrange the meeting for during Spring Break or shortly after classes resume.
ASI President Bridgette Dussan and Executive Vice President Alex Boyar were contacted to speak at the rally, but both declined.
"I don't think we threw our weight around enough, but it would have sacrificed our blossoming relationship with the hardworking administration," said Hosch. "I feel unrepresented as heck. If we could work with ASI, that'd be awesome."
Photo by Alma Shaw: Students demonstrators listen to Alix Shants, Student President of Napa Valley Junior College, as he speaks during April 13th's rally

2011-04-13 "SJSU students protest cuts, tuition hikes" by Lisa M. Krieger from "San Jose Mercury News" newspaper
Demonstrations erupted at San Jose State and 22 other California State University campuses on Wednesday, as students protested enrollment cuts, the climbing cost of education and the leadership of CSU Chancellor Charles Reed.
Blocking the entrance to the office of SJSU provost Gerry Selter, the university's top academic official, two dozen students demanded a meeting to ask for his endorsement of Reed's resignation.
"We want the provost and the administration to get behind us in getting Reed out of office," SJSU student Emily Knight, 23, said while seated on the floor outside Selter's door.
The chancellor is the focus of their fury, said student Eric Acedo, 20, of Morgan Hill, because "Reed has failed to fight for more funding for the CSU system -- and has protected the salaries of the administration, rather than protecting students and faculty."
Gov. Jerry Brown already has signed bills cutting $1.4 billion from the state's colleges and universities -- $500 million from CSU, $500 million from the University of California system and $400 million from community colleges.
In response, CSU's Board of Trustees voted for a 10 percent tuition increase and a 10,000-student reduction in planned enrollment. Both will go into effect next fall.
And that's the best-case scenario. CSU leaders fear their budget cuts could double to $1 billion if lawmakers go with an all-cuts budget -- triggering further tuition increases, a 20,000-studentenrollment reduction and staff cuts, according to CSU spokeswoman Claudia Keith.
The students -- from Northridge to Sacramento -- directed most of their wrath at Reed, chancellor of the 23 CSU campuses, who earns $421,000 a year, plus housing, a car, health care and retirement benefits.
Reed's salary has increased in recent years, while faculty and students have faced cuts, the protesters said.
"It's time to demand the chancellor put the money where the students are!" SJSU student Evelyn Shieh, 22, said.
Beating drums, chanting and carrying placards that read "Chancellor Reed Has No Class," and "CSU Nation Demands Reed's Resignation," several hundred SJSU students met on a main campus plaza, then marched to nearby legislators' offices and the school's administrative building.

2011-04-13 "Students continue to hold the building at Sac State"
Over 2,000 students walked out of their classes at Sacramento State University today April 13, in protest against the state budget cuts and the rising tuition in the California State University System – part of the largest university system in the world. Student protesters expect that already passed budget cuts will lead to larger classes, fewer classes, eliminated programs, and an increased time to graduate.
History Professor Joe Palermo spoke to the crowd gathered in the Sac State Quad arguing,
“What we've been witnessing in recent years is nothing short of the wholesale auctioning off, often to the lowest bidder of the public commons right under the feet of the majority of California's citizens who never signed on to this long-term project of destruction…
A series of student organizers from Students for Quality Education spoke of the costs of cuts to their lives. Amanda Moores described the irresponsibility of the University Administration in producing a 66% increase in Executive Salaries paid for in part by a 224 % increase in student fees.
After a loud rally on the Quad, several hundred students marched across campus. At this hour over 300 students, faculty and staff are occupying the offices of the University President.
There were rallies and marches on at least 10 of the CSU campuses today, ranging from 50 students to several hundred.
Sacramento State is the only one we know of where students have occupied the administration building.
At 8;30 PM. some 30 students continue to hold the Administration building and they plan to spend the night.
They ask that supporters join them inside or outside of the building when it opens on Thursday at 7 A.M.

2011-04-14 "Students and Faculty Occupy a Building in Protest at California State University East Bay" by David Bacon from "Berkeley Daily Planet"
HAYWARD, CA 4/13/11 --
Students and faculty at California State University, East Bay, marched to the administration building on the campus and then occupied the building in protest. Organized by Students for a Quality Education and the California Faculty Association, the civil disobedience protested budget cuts and fee increases for students, and cutbacks on staff and benefits, while administrators' salaries are increased.
The building occupation demanded the resignation of CSU Chancellor Chuck Reed, and a list of other demands discussed and adopted during the occupation. Similar building occupations took place on other campuses. Some students wore face paint with scars symbolizing the painful slashing impact of budget cuts.
Before the march and building occupation, students and faculty organized a "People's University." Workshops talked about the attack on education and the rights of public workers, especially teachers, throughout the U.S., as well as campus issues that included lack of childcare, parking and student services.
Other SQE demands included democratizing the state university's board of trustees, budget transparency, fair treatment for unions and workers, and a recommitment to the California Master Plan for Higher Education.
According to the California Faculty Association, "the California State University has lost some $1 billion, let go more than 3000 faculty, slashed course offerings and tripled student fees. Tens of thousands of eligible students have been turned away or given up because of rising costs and inability to get necessary classes."

2011-04-13 "Students Gather In SFSU Administration Building To Protest State Of Higher Ed" by Janna Brancolini from Bay City News

4:06 PM:Dozens of students gathered in San Francisco State University's administration building for about two hours this afternoon to protest the conditions surrounding higher education and ask California State University Chancellor Charles Reed to resign.
The students said they are angry that costs are rising as the quality of their educations is deteriorating, and that Reed has not been an effective advocate for them.
Students and faculty on all 23 CSU campuses are participating in the "Take Class Action: Demand Quality Education" events, and are asking university officials to seek new revenue sources, reign in administrative salaries, and treat employees fairly.
"I'm fed up with my classes being overcrowded and my budget being cut and my tuition being hiked," said Matt Gzowski, a junior studying anthropology. "I couldn't sit around anymore."
A spokeswoman for San Francisco State University said the student protesters were not asked to leave because they did not create safety or access issues.
Students met with a university administrator, and the building remained open throughout the day, spokeswoman Ellen Griffin said.
Gzowski said classes at the school that should have 20 students are accommodating 40, while classes that should have 40 students have up to 140.
"I know a lot of people who are struggling with tuition hikes," he added. "In fact I know people who live outside of the city because they can't afford living in San Francisco and going here."
Sadaf Malik, a San Francisco State University student who is interning with the California Faculty Association, said the students have been lobbying state lawmakers to adopt an oil and natural gas extraction tax as well as a progressive tax structure that could generate money that could fund higher education.
She said Reed and other executives have not been advocating for revenue-generating measures, and instead are enjoying six-figure salaries while student fees rise.
A spokeswoman for the CSU system said today's events, particularly those organized by the faculty union, were a political red herring.
The real issue, university spokeswoman Claudia Keith said, is the state budget, in which CSU funding will be cut by between $500 million and $1 billion this year.
She said executive salary only comprises 0.2 percent of the CSU budget.
"Really, all of this energy and time should be spent on, 'How do we get the Legislature in California to reinvest in higher education?'" she said. "That is the complete bottom line."
The students acknowledged that administrators are working in a difficult budget climate, but said executives are enjoying perks such as car and housing allowances instead of sharing students' financial struggles.
They oppose Reed's $451,500 in annual compensation on ideological grounds, Malik said.
"Every semester our fees go up 10, 15 percent," she said.
And although Reed and other administrators have appealed to state lawmakers for a bigger share of the state's general fund, they have not been proactive about supporting an oil extraction tax or other revenue generators, the protesters said.
For example, AB 1326 would raise $2 billion for state universities and community colleges by imposing a 12.5 percent tax on oil and natural gas at the wellhead, according to its proponents.
Keith said that CSU officials did not oppose the oil extraction tax, but that there was no guarantee the revenue from it would lead to increased higher-education allocations. The funds could supplant money already coming to state schools, she said.
"I think we all agree higher education is in dire straits," she said. "All this other noise is part of a particular agenda."
2:41 PM: Dozens of students are occupying San Francisco State University's administration building this afternoon to protest rising tuition costs and call on California State University Chancellor Charles Reed to resign, a protester said.
School officials are letting the students remain inside the building, where they are playing music, said Matt Gzowski, a junior studying anthropology.
"I'm fed up with my classes being overcrowded and my budget being cut and my tuition being hiked," Gzowski said. "I couldn't sit around anymore."
Gzowski said classes that should have 20 students are accommodating 40, while classes that should have 40 students have several times that number.
"I know a lot of people who are struggling with tuition hikes," he added. "In fact, I know people who live outside of the city because they can't afford living in San Francisco and going here."
A university spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment. San Francisco police are not responding to the protest, a department spokesman said.

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