Students from several CSUs arrive to speak against new fees during the tuition-free period
Students from several CSUs arrive to speak against new fees during the tuition-free period.
March 26, 2014
With megaphones and bright signs in hand, more than 50 Cal State University students from several campuses rallied against student success fees and system wide ethnic studies policies at Wednesday’s CSU Board of Trustees meeting.
Students from CSU campuses like San Jose State University and San Diego State University chanted, “No more success fees, give them back to the trustees,” and “Power to the students,” at the demonstration, which was organized by Students for Quality Education, a student advocacy group with 17 chapters throughout the state.
The CSU agreed in 2012 to stop tuition increases over a four-year period in exchange for a steady increase in state funding. But the demonstrators said that agreement has been broken and are asking CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White to repeal the student excellence fees that have been passed.
“We’re here to ask the [Board] to stop all student excellence fees” said Cal State Long Beach junior anthropology major and SQE member Erika Suarez. “Proposition 30 gave us a four-year moratorium that said our tuition wouldn’t go up. Whether you call it tuition or call it fees, the fact is students are paying more out of pocket.”
Suarez stood atop a bench in front of the CSU Chancellor’s Office and led a roll call where students from Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Fullerton and University of California, San Diego identified themselves.
Cal State Los Angeles student and SQE member Christain Torres said that the demonstrators’ proposed changes are attainable.
“I think it can be achieved,” he said. “As it stands now, there is supposed to be a four-year moratorium on tuition hikes. I think we can win if there are enough students involved.”
Recent UCSD graduate Tanner Smith joined the demonstrators. He said even though he hasn’t attended a CSU, he has experienced the same hardships at a UC.
“The same things happening at the CSUs are happening at the UCs,” he said. “It’s the same overall California public education crisis. It’s important that students realize these issues aren’t going away. They may go away for a year or two, but they come back.”
The demonstrators gathered into a concentrated group and intensified their chants as SQE members, including CSUF graduate student Sean Washburn, addressed the Board inside the Dumke Auditorium during the meeting’s public comments section.
“The fact of the matter is that these insidious fees should not exist,” Washburn said. “This fee is a glaring loophole around the four-year moratorium on tuition that was passed by the voters of California and signed into effect by Gov. [Jerry] Brown.”
Washburn’s speech went over his allotted time, and he disregarded Board Chair Robert Linscheid’s requests to stop speaking.
“Thank you, sir,” Linscheid said, cutting into Washburn’s presentation.
“I’m not done,” Washburn replied and continued. “Do not allow a democratically established freeze on the cost of pursuing an education in California to be torn apart by the greed of a few people.”
Washburn appealed to White directly, asking him to nullify the student success fees passed and not to create any more.
“Please repeal these fees,” he asked of White, who didn’t respond.
Police presence was bulked up for the meeting, and multiple officers stood in front of a barricade placed around the building’s entrance. Officers were also positioned across the street and at other entrances to the building. The demonstration ended without incident.