On January 31 and February hundreds of CSU students took action to oppose the proposed tuition increase. We spoke at the Board of Trustees meeting and held signs calling each individual Trustee to stand with students. We rallied at CSU Fullerton, did a banner drop at Sonoma State, marched to the administration building and stayed until administrators came out at CSU East Bay, marched through campus at Chico State, educated one another through a teach-in at Fresno State, and spread the word by tabling at CSU San Bernardino.
Speaking at the BOT meeting, SQE member Dulce Lopez told the Trustees: “You have no idea what it is like to have to work 2-3 jobs in order to pay for school. To go home late at night, do homework, sleep for a few hours, get ready for school, and do it all over again. Not to mention, the struggle of those who cannot make it home because they do not have a place to call home or the time to actually get home.”
Elizabeth Cabral, another student and SQE member from CSUDH, called on the Board to take a stand: “In this moment in time you have a chance to stand on the right side of justice, you have a chance to stand with students, you have a chance to make the CSU a model for free higher education. I challenge you today to fight corporate greed. I challenge you today to stay away from student pockets to fill senseless initiative budgets. I challenge you to fight harder for student rights. ”
Gavin Newsom, California’s Lieutenant Governor, made it clear to the Board of Trustees that if they voted in favor of the increase in March, there would be no chance that the state legislature would decide to allocate enough money to the CSU to roll back the fees. After all, if they know the CSU will just take the money from students, it leaves them free to spend the money in their budget elsewhere.
We are gearing up to take powerful action at the March Board of Trustees meeting where they will vote on the increase, but the Trustees need to hear from students constantly between now and then, starting NOW. We can make a difference if enough of us raise our voices. Please go to their online forum and write a message to the BOT about why you are against the tuition increase.
Maria Garcia, SQE member at Chico State, wrote in her message to the BOT: “The CSU was meant to be accessible to all Californians from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Many students are working multiple jobs, taking out more loans, facing mental health problems at more higher rates than generations before (and it’s only getting worse), fear of getting deported, come from mixed status families, are homeless, starving just to obtain an education from their institutions. Stand in solidarity with our students and oppose the tuition increase!”
Write your own, spread the word, and if you aren’t sure how else to get involved in this fight, go to the “Join SQE” tab and you’ll find your local SQE chapter there. Get in touch!