The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

CFA rally at SFSU for a better contract amidst vote to strike

California Faculty Association and students voice frustration with CSU’s contract bargaining
Faculty and students protest against administration to stop teacher budget cuts and tuition hikes. Photographed in the Quad on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (Kayla Williams / Contributor Golden Gate Xpress)

The California Faculty Association marched on Oct. 26 at Malcolm X Plaza to protest their contract while being in the midst of voting on a possible strike. All CFA members have until Friday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. to vote on whether to go on strike. 

Around 300 students and faculty showed up to the rally and marched with the CFA in solidarity. The Young Democratic Socialists of America played a prominent part in organizing the rally. Participants marched through 19th Ave and Holloway, back through the quad, toward the Humanities building, past the Ethnic Studies and Psychology building — as well as Burk Hall — and came back to their table in the quad.  

“We’re having a rally to get students and faculty out here to show our mutual support for any labor action that we might have to do as a part of our bargaining and emphasize that we see the fight against the student fee hikes,” said Will Clark, an English tenure-track professor and CFA member. “The fight against the lecturer faculty cuts is connected to what we’re trying to fight against and trying to keep this university investing in its students and faculty.”

YDSA showed their support by chanting and leading the march through campus. 

“We hope that they hear that we aren’t putting up with their bullshit, to put it nicely,” said Violet Street, third-year public health major and YDSA ambassador and Students for Quality. “We want administration to be scared of us and for them to put money back and actually advocate for SFSU against the Board of Trustees. Those guys are the ones who are really doing a lot of wrong and we need our administration to support us because the majority of this campus is faculty and students and we are unified together as we can see here today.”

Violet Street, a member of the Young Democratic Socialist of America, leads the strike. Photographed on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023 in the Quad. (Kayla Williams/ Contributor Golden Gate Xpress)

Many faculty shared that they attended SFSU before teaching during the open mic, like alumna Candance Low, a lecturer in the biology department. She received her master’s degree in 2002 from SFSU. After being here for so long, she wishes administration would meet faculty needs. 

“We’re hoping to bring them back to just realize our importance, that we have power and our solidarity, and that they will realize that they can’t push us around, and that we can just get our basic needs met,” Low said. “What we’re asking for in the new contract or in these negotiations, is nothing extravagant. It’s basically bringing us to a place where we can pay our rents, have lactation rooms, have all gender bathrooms, like just basic equity.”

Charles Bennett is a third-year student and a YDSA member. Bennett, like many others, does not want the CFA  to go on strike, but will support them in order to meet their bargaining requests. 

“It’s important for students and faculty to work together because without faculty, students can’t get the care that we need,” Bennett said. “Right now, they’re threatening the faculty’s well-being. The students must stand in solidarity with faculty, so that we can all participate in a healthy campus environment.”

Some faculty at SFSU have been teaching for 10 years or more like Denise Battista, who’s been teaching for 16 years in the School of Humanities and Liberal Studies. Battista is a lecturer faculty representative for the Humanities department. 

“I am considered a tier-three level lecturer faculty, which means I make on the higher range of pay,” she said. “For teaching one class, my take-home pay per month is $871, and that’s for coming to campus twice a week, 75 minutes a day, to teach in the classroom,” Battista said. “That’s me grading assignments. That’s me doing prep, that’s me doing three hours of office hours per week. That’s me answering emails, that’s me working one-on-one with students. My take home pay is $871 a month. Administration thinks that’s too much, I think that’s bullshit.”

In tears, Rose Lacy shared her sentiments toward the budget cuts not having the attention she believes it deserves. Many professors and students may not be aware of the current tension between the CFA and administration, which is why the marchers walked past Thornton and Hensill Hall — so they could hear the chants, according to Lacy. 

“We teach for the love of it. We do this for [students] and they don’t seem to care – The administration doesn’t give a shit about us,” Lacy said. “I’ve been teaching for six years and I’m still in the lowest level range because I don’t have a terminal degree, and so I’m stuck not [being able to] afford to pay rent and kind of like stuck in not a great living situation — because I can’t move, because I can’t, because I have to have roommates to help pay the rent and stuff. I’m here because I love you and I love teaching. I’m just so sick of being taken advantage of.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Osborn, Engagement and Online Editor
Sophia Osborn (she/her) is the Engagement and Online editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in English literature. Sophia has always loved keeping up with the news and reading whatever she can. Coming from sunny San Diego, she graduated from Carlsbad High School, where she wrote and was an editor for the school paper, the Lancer Link. This is her second semester on staff and she is extremely excited about what the future holds in store for her. In her downtime, Sophia can be found hanging out with friends, reading, writing, or playing Mario Kart with her friends.

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