Students, faculty gather to picket chancellor's CSUEB visit

Students and faculty picketed outside the Student Services and Administration building at California State University East Bay April 18 as Chancellor Charles Reed met with its President Mohammad Qayoumi on the building’s fourth floor.

Reed was on campus to meet with Qayoumi, who is slated to transition to his new role as president of San Jose State University at the end of the academic year. He also agreed to meet with members of the academic senate while in Hayward.

Frustrated students and faculty used the visit as an opportunity to voice their displeasure with the CSU system.

“Our goal is to draw attention to a lot of the stuff that has been going on within the system and to join with our sister schools, such as San Francisco State, to present a unified voice,” said Nicholas Baham, an associate professor and chair of the department of ethnic studies.

Baham joined others in picketing and handing out fliers to passers-by, explaining the California Faculty Association’s anger that many teachers are working without a contract and students’ ire at rising tuition costs and class cuts.

“We understand that we may not see Chancellor Reed, but we are out here and it is important that they know we are here,” said Frank Quintana, a junior at CSUEB studying political science. Quintana is also president of the campus’ Students for Quality Education.

He explained that the group’s purpose was to support student demands.

“We advocate for student representation both on the union and the university,” Quintana said. “We try to inform students on budget issues and try to engage students on some of the issues they are facing.”

The picketers chanted slogans such as “Bye, bye, Porkie Pig!” and “No cuts, no fees, Chancellor Reed should work for free,” while carrying signs that read “We want a fair contract now,” “Proud member of the CFA” and “Resign (G)Reed.”

Dianne Rush Woods, chair of the academic senate at CSUEB, was prepared for a last-minute meeting with Reed and explained that her hope was to discuss many concerns that directly affect the campus.

“He is coming to talk to us about the campus,” Woods said. “We want to ask him some types of questions about what our concerns are. We want to hear what is going to happen and who our president will be.”

She also noted that one of the faculty’s biggest concerns is that they have been working without a contract since June 30.

“Chancellor Reed’s strategy is to delay giving us a contract by hiring outside consultants to negotiate out of the chancellor’s office,” Woods said. “That is just a waste of $4.3 million of money that we can’t afford to lose.”

As Woods met with Reed upstairs, other faculty remained downstairs picketing in support.

“We are picketing outside the building in support of members of the academic senate of our university who are meeting with Chancellor Reed inside the building,” said Brian McKenzie, chapter president of the California Faculty Association at CSUEB.

Monday’s gathering came on the heels of a mainly student-led protest April 13.

Leroy Morishita, SF State’s vice president and CFO for administration and finance, will become interim president of CSUEB July 1.

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