Faculty from all Northern California CSU Campuses converged at CSU East Bay on Nov. 17 to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the executives that run and manage the CSU systems all over the state, primarily Chancellor Charles Reed.
Over the last 12 years, Reed has done more and more to undermine students’ needs and education in an effort to award CSU executives with un-earned salary increases and bonuses, protestors said. Even with his outlandish decisions, it was not until Reed began to refuse payment of previously negotiated salary increases for faculty members in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years that students and staff felt enough was enough and that they personally had to do something to make a change.
“This is exactly what needs to happen, students and faculty standing together saying cuts cannot happen,” said State Senator Loni Hancock, who was present at the strike.
Students have faced economic repercussions that have made it more difficult to afford the public and high-level education known to be provided by the CSU system. Over the last ten years tuition prices have increased by almost $5,000, from a mere $1,500 in 2001-2002 to $5,970 for the upcoming school year.
These tuition spikes came after Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget for 2011-2012 cut nearly $650 million from higher education. The California State University Board of Trustees has announced a nine percent tuition increase that will be put into effect unless a requested $333 million in state aid is established. This aid cannot be issued unless two-thirds of the Legislature approves the legislation.
“Regular people can help this situation by simply participating in the upcoming elections. By electing in at least two-thirds Democrats, the chance at a possible act to provide more funding for the CSU system becomes more of a reality and less of a dream,” said Hancock.
It can be sure that Reed heard the message of the demonstrations loud and clear, but simply showing signs of frustrations isn’t going to make anything different.
“This event was extremely organized and the message was very cohesive. It’s time that people are willing to speak up and make a change for their future,” said State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, who was also present to view the demonstrations. According to Corbett, “only four people are standing in the way of any change. Two senators and two assemblymen have made it impossible to reach the definitive two-thirds agreement and there’s nothing we can do to change their minds.”
It’s obvious that there is a long way to go, but students and staff began the journey properly, letting it be known that they are fed up with how things are run at the head of the CSU system.