Students demand attention for higher education

When it comes to cuts to education, Students for Quality Education have one main philosophy: louder is better.

SQE and the California Faculty Association are encouraging students to raise their voices today at its forum and walkout, Take Class Action.

“We need to make some noise,” said Sadaf Malik, member of SQE and a physiology major. “If students just sit there complacent, the governor is going to keep doing whatever he wants.”

The day will begin with a forum at Jack Adams Hall at 11 a.m. The CFA will discuss alternative cuts and better spending strategies that could save the education system.

At 12:30 p.m., students will march to 19th and Holloway avenues, where there will be music, student speakers and a picket line.

At 1 p.m. students will begin marching the perimeter of campus and make their way back to Malcolm X Plaza.

The event is expected to draw at least 500 participants.

Members of SQE believe that the CSU system is in a state of collapse, which will only worsen if Chancellor Charles Reed continues his term.

“I don’t feel like he’s been an advocate for the CSU,” said Akasha Perez, SQE president. “He’s the symbol of corrupt administration.”

Since he began in 1998, Reed’s salary has gone up 66 percent. However, since 2002, student fees have gone up 242 percent, according to the CFA.

The SQE’s list of demands are as follows: Reed’s resignation; democratization of the CSU board of trustees and making the board consist of students, faculty and staff; full transparency of the CSU budget; fair contracts and working conditions for all faculty and staff; funding for instruction and student services as well as cuts to administration; and a renewed commitment to the California Master Plan.

The CSU system could face a $1 billion cut if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiative does not make it onto the special election ballot. This would cause a cut in enrollment, an additional 10 percent increase in tuition and a 5 percent decrease in faculty and staff compensation, according to an email from the CSU.

“This could make full programs collapse,” Malik said. “Students will have significantly less classes. Some students don’t understand how crucial this is.”

Perez said that progressive taxation, such as the proposed oil extraction tax, could be save education.

“This could generate billions of dollars,” Perez said. “The oil companies in California aren’t hurting at all.”

California is currently the only state in the union that does not have an oil extraction tax.

For students like Sarita Dhital, a pre-nursing major, going to class outweighs participating in the rally.

“I’m not going because I have class during the whole thing,” she said. “Going to class is way more important than that.”

Since the fall 2009 business building occupation, some students have shied away from protests.

“I think protest can be effective sometimes,” said psychology major Kristen Torres. “I think it’s too extreme here. I mean, I see them and I listen, but it’s not right to keep other students from their classes.”

At the same time, others say that the only way to change things is to get out of the classroom.

“If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to get what you’re already getting,” Perez said. “We go to class every day, so we have to change our routine to show that this really matters to us.”

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