“Our education is our liberation!” read a vibrant yellow sign held up by students as they stormed the quad and marched directly to the front of the Administration Building.
Provost Sue Rosser refused to sign a list of demands presented to her by students of the College of Ethnic Studies at a rally on Wednesday.
“It’s about showing them we’re not gonna quit,” said Madeline Hernandez, international relations major and Latina/o studies minor. “(This is) just the beginning.”
Nearly 200 students and faculty attended the event in order to voice their support for the College in light of recent news about potential spending cuts, previously reported by Golden Gate Xpress.
“An attack on Ethnic Studies is an attack on all people of color,” said Ismail Muhammad, president of the Black Student Union.
Rosser came down from her office to address students after their chants and speeches continued for nearly an hour.
“We reiterate again that President Wong has authorized the transfer of $250,000 to cover the 2015 to 2016 expenses for the College of Ethnic Studies,” Rosser said.
The students maintained that their demands were non-negotiable.
“This isn’t new information,” said Shannon Deloso, Ethnic Studies representative for Associated Students, Inc. “$250,000 isn’t even enough to cover our deficit.”
Deloso continued, saying that amount of money would barely cover the salaries of the full-time faculty of the College of Ethnic Studies.
Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies Kenneth P. Monteiro addressed students directly and expressed his pride in how they have followed in the footsteps of the students who made history in the original 1968 strike to have the College of Ethnic Studies created in the first place.
“Students who come through our college actually graduate at a higher rate than students who don’t,” Monteiro said. “So it’s anchored in making academics responsive to the needs of the people, because that’s where academics came from.”
San Francisco Public Defender and SF State alumnus Jeff Adachi was in attendance to state that the Ethnic Studies program gave him the tools he needed in order succeed in his professional life.
“You have a lot of support that goes far beyond the student body here” Adachi said. “You have the support of many people in the Bay Area community that have benefitted from Ethnic Studies, like myself.”
Hanna Wodaje, vice president of the BSU moderated most of the event, introduced guest speakers, and shared some of her own personal experiences.
“As a student, I have the power to make my reality,” Wodaje said. “As a student, I deserve the right to my own narrative. We will take back the narrative!”
Rosser invited those who were present to attend a town hall meeting Monday, March 28 to discuss the idea of shared governance and encourage more dialogue on the issue.