Saturday, April 16, 2011

2011-04-16 "Sacramento State students aren't budging at sit-in" by Laurel Rosenhall from "Sacramento Bee" newspaper
Students camped out in protest inside the Sacramento State administration building for a third straight day on Friday, singing freedom songs, playing cards and noshing on snacks their professors delivered.
The number of students fluctuated throughout the day, from as many as 50 students to about a dozen Thursday night.
University officials asked them again to go home Friday, saying the lobby was not a safe place for students to spend the weekend. But students said they would leave when they were ready – and on their own terms.
By Friday evening, they were carrying in blankets and pillows, making plans to spend a third night in the lobby.
"We ... claimed a space from the administration for the purpose of promoting sustainable education," student Amanda Mooers said during an afternoon news conference. "We were able to force administration to meet with students to hear their demands."
Campus police have been monitoring the demonstration around the clock but had not arrested anyone as of Friday night. By that point, the sit-in had cost the university $8,000 in police overtime, said Kim Nava, a campus spokeswoman.
"As the clock is ticking, more money is being spent," she said.
The sit-in began Wednesday, when students and employees at California State University campuses statewide participated in protests against budget cuts and tuition increases. The protests were organized by the California Faculty Association, the union that represents professors at all 23 CSU campuses.
The union and the university are locked in negotiations for a new contract, and the bargaining has become acrimonious.
In a newsletter urging professors to participate in Wednesday's protests, the faculty union described them as "the first major action of the campaign to win a fair contract."
Faculty supported the students occupying the Sacramento State administration building by bringing them food and advising them when they had questions, said Kevin Wehr, president of Sacramento State's union chapter.
But the sit-in was led by students, he said. "I had no idea this action was even going to happen," Wehr said. "I have been incredibly proud of how they behaved. They have been making their decisions collectively and with consensus."
Inside the lobby of the Sacramento Hall administration building, some students wore red T-shirts and stickers the union made to promote its statewide protest. Mooers, the student who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said she is a paid intern with the CFA but is conducting the sit-in on her own time.
The students presented campus President Alexander Gonzalez with a list of demands, asking him to stop giving raises to managers and to publicly support Senate Bill 8 and Assembly Bill 1326. Both bills are sponsored by the faculty union.
SB 8 would subject auxiliary groups at public universities to the California Public Records Act, while AB 1326 would tax oil extraction in the state and send the money to higher public education, including the University of California, CSU and community college systems.
Gonzalez met with students to discuss their requests and posted the demands and his responses on the Sacramento State website. He wrote that he will not provide "any general salary increases at the managerial level unless specifically authorized by the Board of Trustees."
As for the legislation, Gonzalez said it's inappropriate for individual campuses to take positions on bills or ballot measures because CSU's trustees make endorsements on behalf of the entire system.

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