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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Faculty hold ‘Vote NO’ rally against tentative agreement

CFA members hold demonstration for “Vote NO” campaign
Faculty+and+students+spelled+%E2%80%9CNO%E2%80%9D+by+standing+in+SFSU%E2%80%99s+quad+on+Thursday%2C+Jan.+25%2C+2023.+%28Neal+Wong+%2F+Golden+Gate+Xpress%29
Neal Wong
Faculty and students spelled “NO” by standing in SFSU’s quad on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2023. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress)

After the tentative agreement was released on Monday, California Faculty Association members held a “Vote NO” rally at Malcolm X Plaza at noon on Thursday to express their frustrations with it.

Around 250 teachers, students and supporters listened to their peers speak in Malcolm X Plaza before moving to the quad around 1 p.m. to spell the word “NO” with their bodies.

“It’s really nice to be a part of this,” said Badu Smith, a communications professor at San Francisco State University, who attended the “Vote NO” rally. “This is something that is bigger than myself.”

Many participants wore red shirts to support the launch of the “Vote NO” campaign. The rally opposed CFA leadership and the tentative agreement. Participants also chanted phrases like “education is a right; this is why we fight, fight, fight.”

“By demobilizing the strike early and without consultation, a handful of leaders demonstrated a lack of faith in our ability to organize,” Brad Erickson, CFA-SFSU chapter president, said to the crowd as a speaker on Thursday. “They say this is the best deal we could’ve gotten but we’ll never know because we didn’t have the opportunity to follow it through.”

Blanca Missé, an SFSU Modern Languages and Literatures professor, said she felt empowered to be at the demonstration after seeing the email from the CFA Board of Directors late Monday evening.

Rally attendees at SFSU’s Malcolm X Plaza on Thursday, January 25, 2023. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress) (Neal Wong)

“Today what was so clear and gives me so much energy is that our faculty, our rank and file, are strike ready,” Missé said. “This is a fighting campus and we’re not done.”

Mark Davis, an SFSU Africana Studies professor, came up with the idea of creating a human demonstration of “NO” to showcase the union’s momentum.

“When it comes down to it, it’s about the human body and being together in space and time,” Davis said. “It just leaves an impact. People don’t forget stuff like this.”

Faculty members were joined by students like Kaeden Fleischer, a first-year SFSU student who came to support his professors.

“The very professors who keep the school running aren’t given the basic respect of even just a normal employee, a normal service worker,” Fleischer said. “They don’t get the basic respect to be able to have a say in what they want and what they get.”

Fleischer was one of many who formed the “NO” out on the field. While standing in the “NO,” members talked to each other and stood against the tentative agreement.

“Our faculty didn’t pick this job because they wanted to make money,” Fleischer said. “They picked this job because they found, in their schooling and in their professors, a passion for what they do and they want to share that passion.”

Ali Noorzad is the co-chair of Young Democratic Socialists of America at SFSU and a history major. Noorzad felt betrayed by the bargaining team and their acceptance of the deal.

Rally attendees listen to speakers at SFSU’s Malcolm X Plaza on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2023. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress) (Neal Wong)

“The bargaining team is basically just spitting in the face of it [previous striking] by agreeing to this. It feels a bit like a betrayal, but what’s really inspired me is I’m looking around and I’m seeing the rank and file are saying no, we’re not gonna accept this,” Noorzad said. “We’re going to take control of our union.”

Cesar Rodriguez is an associate professor of Race & Resistance Studies. Rodriguez was initially happy that an agreement was reached but felt differently after learning more about it.

“I found out the details of it, and I started to feel really dissatisfied. Dare I say, I even felt betrayed,” Rodriguez said. “It felt barely better than the last, worst contract that they imposed upon us, that management imposed upon us.”

James Martel is a political science professor and a CFA executive board member. Martel has continuously attended rallies on campus and participated in the Dec. 5 strike. Martel is against ratifying the tentative agreement.

“I was horrified. We were just all on fire with this amazing strike that we had organized. People were coming out of the woodwork doing magic things; it was just such a great feeling, so much power,” Martel said. “I just think the leadership got scared and they couldn’t handle our power. They made a really bad deal with the administration, and here we are.”

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About the Contributors
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.
Gabriela Calvillo Alvarez, Breaking News Editor
Gabriela Calvillo Alvarez (she/they) is breaking news editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She is double majoring in journalism and political science, two passions she holds near to her heart. Growing up in the East Bay, Gabriela graduated from Washington High School, where she wrote and was news editor on the award-winning school newspaper, The Hatchet. She also participated in The Stanford Daily Summer Internship in 2020. During their spare time, Gabriela enjoys going out with friends, attending concerts and learning new things. 
Neal Wong, Co-Copy Editor
Neal Wong (he/him) is a third-year journalism student and minoring in urban studies and planning. He was born and raised in San Francisco and attended Washington High School. He has photographed and written for Golden Gate Xpress first as a contributor, then as a photographer, and now as a copy editor. His photos have also been published by the San Francisco Bay ViewSan Francisco Public Press, Mission Local, and Xpress Magazine. Neal has also created and taught four SFSU Experimental College courses. His hobbies include traveling, cooking, and reading.

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