Students Hold Rallies, Marches, Teach-Ins at 23 California State Universities To Protest Education Cuts & Attacks on University Employees

by Alice Sunshine on April 14, 2011

Students and workers across California held protests at 23 California State Universities yesterday, occupying CSU administration buildings to demand the resignation of Chancellor Reed. “We have to take action to save our universities for California’s middle class and working families before it’s too late,” said Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, as faculty joined the protest events. 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.”

The day of action in the CSU laid out five important issues for the university management:

•Spend money on classes— cut management bloat
•Stop layoffs and job losses for faculty and staff
•Bargain fair contracts for faculty and staff
•Keep the University public— No more fee hikes
•Support CSU transparency and oil extraction bills

“We call on the top CSU executives to adjust their thinking. Too much of their priority is on their own compensation and power. It is clear in our bargaining over the faculty contract that the Chancellor believes the state budget battle gives him license to impose policies that have everything to do with his own ‘discretionary’ power and little to do with saving quality education,” Lillian Taiz said.

For over 4 years Students for Quality Education (SQE), a student led coalition has watched the degradation of Higher Education. Time and time again SQE has opposed and fought against piercing budget cuts, sky rocketing fees and inflating costs of administration salaries, but after 4 years of failed leadership under Chancellor Reed students have had enough.

Students are demanding the resignation of Chancellor Reed and are calling out for a democratically run University that prioritizes funding for quality education, instead of funding a bloated administration. To highlight this goal, students marched to their administration buildings and assembled peacefully to demand Chancellor Reed’s resignation. The occupations/sit-ins were coupled with a “People’s University,” which discussed how to create a democratically run University that focuses on quality education for all.

These April Actions are a prelude to the launch of a national campaign by faculty organizations on public college and university campuses, each of which is dealing with variations of the same themes—— deep cuts to public college and university funding combined with attacks on union rights and academic freedom. Watch for announcements of the campaign launch in May.

•A description of all 23 campus actions can be found here.

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