Read

Search form

Starving for Schooling

Starving for Schooling
Tue, 5/1/2012 - by Michael Levitin

Photo: Cal State University Fullerton students protest tuition hikes in November 2011. Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times.

Twelve students from six campuses in the California State University system announced Friday they will be going on hunger strike beginning on May 2 to protest the failure of university administrators to halt rising tuition fees and budget cuts.

"Our classes have been cut and our programs slashed," said Yeimi Lopez of Sacramento State University. "We are thus taking the torch and are escalating our direct actions. We are taking a stand as students of California, for our sisters and brothers.”

Student debt just passed the $1 trillion mark, as steady increases in the cost of attending school has meant more and more students taking out ever bigger loans to pay for their education. According to a press release issued by Students for Quality Education (SQE), 16,000 students are now facing the threat of frozen enrollment. Meanwhile, fees are rising, faculty and courses are being gutted to save money, yet California State University Chancellor Charles Reed and Chair Robert Linscheid have approved not just salary increases but executive compensations and lavish bonuses for CSU campus presidents.

On March 21, Students for Quality Education took a stand.

In a letter addressed to the chancellor and the chair, Erika Flores of SQE issued the following demands: a five-year moratorium on student fee hikes, which have more than tripled in the last decade; an elimination of all 23 campus presidents' housing and car allowances; an immediate end to cuts in classes and student services; and an extension of freedom of speech areas to include entire campuses. "Universities should be a safe space to express ideas and opinions without intimidation by campus police and administration," the letter read.

The SQE also requested a meeting with the university heads to discuss their concerns and the solutions they proposed.

On April 18, Chair Linschied wrote back in response, "If you have concrete suggestions or ideas to help the CSU through the current budget crisis, you are welcome to submit them to your elected student leaders. While the board has heard your concerns and issues... the implied threats issued by your members are not a useful form of discourse on complicated issues."

Finally, on Friday, SQE submitted another open letter "as a formal request and second attempt to schedule a meeting" as students held a press call to reaffirm their demands and issue the call for a hunger strike. “CSU students have fought back against budgets cuts to education and we've tried just about everything you can think to prevent the dismantling of our public university system," CSU Long Beach graduate student Donnie Besson said on the call.

"We've lobbied our state legislators, we've mobilized thousands to our state capital, and we've presented new strategies to our Board of Trustees so that we can change the course and try efficient alternatives,” Besson said.

The alternative now, for 12 students, will be to go without food until university administrators agree to come to the table and discuss a way forward that addresses their needs. For the Students for Quality Education, the educational injustices and inequities that thousands in California are facing leaves them no choice.

For more information about SQE and the hunger strike, please visit www.csusqe.org.

 

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

anti-fracking protests, Keep It In the Ground, protester arrests, undercover agents

Emails obtained through an open records act request show that the Lakewood Police Department in Colorado collected details about a BLM oil and gas lease protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned.

Greek privatizations, transit privatization, Panhellenic Railway Association, TrainOSE, water privatization, Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage, Greek austerity policies

Late last month, the Panhellenic Railway Association took to the streets to protest a slew of public transport privatizations scheduled to take place later this year. "The government defiantly and shamelessly gives away the national wealth," it said.

#WebOfDenial, climate denial, fossil fuel industry, Exxon climate lies

In the U.S. Senate, champions for climate action and accountability are loudly putting the blame on think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups that have created doubt about climate science.

Universal Credit, Citizen’s Advice Scotland, U.K. austerity policies, welfare benefits reform, Citizen Advice, New Policy Institute, welfare payment delays

Claimants are facing hefty delays in receiving benefits and unfair sanctions.

ISTANBUL, Turkey

Soldiers versus police versus a mob in the newsroom of Turkey’s most-watched news channel — and dozens of reporters to document it all.

Sherry Hernandez, Senka Huskic, housing crisis, foreclosures crisis, mortgage-lending crisis, Countrywide, PennyMac, CitiMortgage, Trustee Corps, foreclosures fraud, banking crimes, TARP, HAMP

"If we had known from the beginning how corrupt the system was, we probably never would have started."

Posted 4 days 1 hour ago
Pakistan climate impacts, climate change in Pakistan, extreme flooding, glacial melt

Glaciers are melting, extreme floods are becoming commonplace, and the country's infrastructure is struggling to keep up as climactic changes wreak havoc, threatening people's daily existence across Pakistan.

Posted 5 days 40 min ago

This week we prepare activists for what they might encounter as they take to the streets for justice and equality.

Posted 3 days 1 hour ago
#23ways, 23 ways, Black Lives Matter, police brutality, We Are Here Campaign

Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Bono, and others explain why it's time to take action to heal the long history of systemic racism in America.

Posted 4 days 1 hour ago
Pokémon Go

Last week, two things happened that will have long-lasting impact on American society and the global economy. First, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to a record low of 1.366 percent. Second, Nintendo released Pokémon Go.

Posted 5 days 44 min ago
Rooftop Revolutionaries

A street-art, activist inspired lyric video off of Rooftop Revolutionaries' WHITE EP, Sick, Tired & Wasted.

“Reverse redlining” flooded communities of color with toxic mortgages, practically ensuring default.

Turkish coup, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, military overthrow

Authorities have rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters, ranging from top commanders to foot soldiers.

Universal Credit, Citizen’s Advice Scotland, U.K. austerity policies, welfare benefits reform, Citizen Advice, New Policy Institute, welfare payment delays

Claimants are facing hefty delays in receiving benefits and unfair sanctions.

ISTANBUL, Turkey

Soldiers versus police versus a mob in the newsroom of Turkey’s most-watched news channel — and dozens of reporters to document it all.