Students protest in front of Dumke Auditorium in Long Beach, CA on Sep. 12, 2023. (Daniel Hernandez)
Students protest in front of Dumke Auditorium in Long Beach, CA on Sep. 12, 2023. (Daniel Hernandez)
Daniel Hernandez

Students and unions protest in Long Beach amid CSU Board of Trustees impending vote on the proposed tuition increase

Students and faculty submitted public comments against the proposal. Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester told trustees to consider the financial deficit when they cast their votes at tomorrow’s meeting

Students, faculty and staff members from across the 23 California State University campuses protested against the proposed multi-year tuition increase at the entrance of the CSU Office of the Chancellor on Sept. 12 in Long Beach.

The protest, which coincided with the CSU Board of Trustees meeting, was the last opportunity to voice their opposition to the proposed hike as the trustees are set to vote on the proposal Sept. 13 at 9 a.m.

The proposed multi-year increase would raise tuition by 6% every year for the next five years, raising undergraduate yearly tuition from the current $5,742 to $7,682 by fall 2028. The proposal is aimed at combating CSU’s $1.5 billion deficit — a strategy that would make 40% of students shoulder the burden.

The meeting opened with public comment, where student representatives from approximately 21 of the 23 campuses took turns on the podiums to speak against the tuition proposal.

“We all are in this room because we love the CSU,” said Iese Esera, San Francisco State University Associated Students board of directors’ chief of staff and chair. “You sit at this esteemed table because you’re supposed to love the CSU. So the CSU is nothing without the students. Without the success of the CSU, the mission can only be measured by the ethical success and well-being of our students.”

After a majority of the student representatives finished their public comments, members of unions from across CSU spoke on the current contract bargaining impasse and threatened to strike if their demands were not met.

During public comment, California Faculty Association vice president Margarita Berta Ávila yelled “shut it down” in reference to the prospect of a faculty strike, followed by a chorus of union members yelling the same phrase afterward.

“We’re sick and tired of being mistreated and disrespected by the CSU,” said Jason Rabinowitz, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 2010. “Standing together with all the other unions, we are ready to shut it down and the new chancellor better get in and start bargaining in good faith with the workers or else she’s going to have the biggest strike in the history of the CSU in her hands.”

After a majority of union representatives commented and left the auditorium, the members marched around the chancellor’s office before finally dispersing.

Meanwhile, CSU students, mostly from Southern California, lined up behind the podiums and voiced similar concerns to the trustees; that low-income and minority students would be negatively impacted by the proposed increase.

“For me and other children of immigrants, it’s already a struggle to afford education,” said David Chan, an SFSU graduate student in the School of Cinema and League of Filipino Students member. “It’s unjust that they expect us to work more while taking a full course load of classes.”

After public comment closed, interim chancellor Jolene Koester addressed the trustees on the impact of the vote on Wednesday. 

“There is never a good time to raise tuition. There is never an easy time to raise tuition. Students are not going to actively support a tuition increase. To expect otherwise, I think, may be in the world of fantasy,” Koester said. “I know that, as trustees, you are uncomfortable. And I appreciate your discomfort, it is to be expected. While there is no easy time to raise tuition, there is a time when it becomes an undeniable imperative. That time is now. The evidence is irrefutable.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting will begin Sept. 13 at 8 a.m. The board is expected to vote on the proposal at 9 a.m.

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Daniel Hernandez
Daniel Hernandez, Spanish Editor
Daniel Hernandez (he/him) is a transfer student from the Inland Empire majoring in bilingual journalism. He also oversees Golden Gate Xpress' Spanish section. His passion for storytelling and journalism started after he bought his first camera six years ago. What began as a fascination for taking photos and videos grew into a passion for multimedia journalism. When he isn't researching for an article or working as the Spanish editor, he explores the Bay Area or falls down a YouTube rabbit hole. Daniel Hernandez (él/ellos) es un estudiante transferido de Inland Empire con especialización en periodismo bilingüe. También es el editor de la sección en español de Golden Gate Xpress. Su pasión por el periodismo comenzó después de que compró su primera cámara hace seis años. Lo que comenzó como una fascinación por tomar fotografías y vídeos se convirtió en una pasión por el periodismo multimedia. Cuando no está investigando para un artículo o trabajando como editor de la sección en español, explora el Área de la Bahía o cae en una madriguera de YouTube.

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