Students for Quality Education members, SF State staff and even students in passing caught the attention of Vice President for University Advancement Robert J. Nava today when a group of 60 occupied the Administration building.
The protest, organized by SQE, was one of many demonstrations taking place across California State University campuses and other schools throughout the nation today.
Following a teach-in at Jack Adams Hall Wednesday afternoon, the group marched to 19th and Holloway avenues and eventually collaborated to occupy the Administration building.
“We just had a teach-in and it’s critical to understand this importance,” said Sheila R. Tully, anthropology lecturer and lecturer vice president of the California Faculty Association SF State chapter. “No one tactic is going to change state direction.”
Protesters made their presence known; armed with homemade signs, noisemakers and instruments. Some student were drawn out of classrooms and into the picket line.
“Getting students is hard since people are reluctant to support the cause, but we need to raise the consciousness,” said junior Michael Helms, who left his class for a short period to join in the demonstration.
The group sat on the floor of the lobby in protest of University budget cuts, but also pushed for the resignation of Chancellor Charles Reed.
Although the group hoped to speak with President Robert A. Corrigan, the protest did reach Nava, who initially agreed to meet with some of the protesters but then came to down from his office to address the larger group.
“I had never met the vice president, but I think it showed great initiative and leadership on his part to come down and speak,” said Akasha Perez, an SQE organizer.
Nava took questions from the crowd, overall suggesting that students “need to be mobilized and focused,” and felt that efforts should be directed in higher positions of authority.
“You’ve got my support, but we need to focus our energies towards Sacramento and the legislatures,” Nava told the protesters.
Nava, a recent addition to SF State, was complementary of student efforts, citing the school’s history and maintaining the university’s commitment to its students and social justice.
The vice president answered the student’s questions, but acknowledged that they would need to meet at a later time in addition to meeting with President Corrigan.
“Students had questions, but I think he didn’t have the authority to answer them,” Perez said.
The group hopes that SQE’s next meeting will be an even bigger success. A meeting with President Corrigan is set to take place April 19 at 3 p.m. in HSS 331.
“There are many different ways to build awareness, but for the most part they were well organized,” said University Spokesperson Ellen Griffin. “(It was) encouraging to see so much support around higher education.”