ASI to launch new campaign to make students' pains known to legislature

Gov. Jerry Brown’s face will be appearing on mock dollar bills on campus today.

Associated Students, Inc. will be hosting the Buck Starts Here campaign in Malcolm X Plaza and in the lobby of the Cesar Chavez Student Center from noon to 2 p.m. The event aims to give students the opportunity to discuss and share their views on the tuition increases.

“The purpose of this event is to make sure our peers realize how important it should be to mobilize and organize structured non-violent protesting,” said ASI Vice President of External Affairs Yesenia Martinez.

The Buck Starts Here campaign was conceptualized by the California State Student Association in hopes of bringing awareness to the lack of funding for public education and empower students to take action, according to Sean Richards, CSSA vice president of legislative affairs.

The campaign was launched at San Diego State University in November. It will travel to the remaining CSU campuses by March 5, when the annual March for Higher Education takes place at the California Capitol in Sacramento.

“We cannot sit idly by while our public universities and our future continue to be cut,” Richards said. “This campaign and the corresponding March for Education are for students to make their voices heard and tell the legislature that the decisions they are making to disinvest in education may be a Band-Aid to solve our problems but a longterm ‘cast’ in the form of investment in education will truly save the state and put us back as a power economy.”

The idea was brought to the CSSA board by a member from San Diego State University according to Richards.

“I was listening to her describe this idea, and I loved it,” Richards said. “The idea popped into my head to make this a statewide campaign where this box would move up the state like the olympic torch, through every campus.”

The CSSA hopes to deliver a money box filled with mock $650 million dollar bills, the amount cut from CSU budget for 2011-12, and notes from students about their experiences to the governor during the march. The box has already been filled with 8,000 mock bills.

“We have great hope that the governor will be overwhelmed by the amount of bills we have collected,” Richards said.  “And will take the time that the campaign and the students deserve and he will read some. We have great supporters in the legislature as well as those we may not consider allies and some bills will be taken out and given to them.”

ASI also plans to have informative tables with more than 20 other students organizations to share their stories. ASI will be coordinating voter registration and will have a sign up list for students to save their space on buses that will be taking SF State students up to Sacramento for the march at the Capitol.

“I hope students will understand ASI believes this is a priority,” Martinez said. “And this is why we decided to make this rally happen. To make our peers aware that this is an issue and we need to come together across campuses in unity to collaborate on diverse student issues. The tuition increase needs to be the number one priority.”

President Robert A. Corrigan announced in a recent email sent to the student body that Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a budget that will continue to slash funding for the CSU system, which could result in another 9 percent tuition increase in the fall.

In that same email President Corrigan also spoke of the importance of students sharing their stories so that elected officials may understand just how these budget decisions touch the individual lives of students.

The CCSA’s website also claims on their website that for every $1 the state spends on education $5.43 is generated for the state, “proving that the buck actually starts here.”