Friday, April 15, 2011

Students march, sleep in protest of CSU cutbacks


Robert Linggi - State Hornet
Student protestors pack Sacramento Hall's lobby as part of a budget cut protest Wednesday.
by Mallory Fites
The State Hornet (statehornet.com), April 15, 2011

Sacramento State students from different backgrounds and majors joined professors on Wednesday for "Take Class Action Walkout," a demonstration advocating for changes in the management of the university.
About 1,000 Sac State students, faculty and staff gathered in the Library Quad to listen to speakers and cheer in support. They continued the demonstration by marching to Sacramento Hall chanting slogans like, "They say cutbacks. We say fight back!"

When they got to Sacramento Hall, they passed by the empty office of university President Alexander Gonzalez, who was away at a meeting in Long Beach.

The march, organized by Students for Quality Education and the California Faculty Association, was part of a larger mobilization of CSU campuses to demand quality education. Rallies and demonstrations were held at all 23 CSU campuses Wednesday.

Robert Linggi - State Hornet
Students acting as Sacramento State administrators pretend to ride in a yacht during a demonstration Wednesday in the Library Quad.

The march at Sac State ended in the lobby of Sacramento Hall where students took turns speaking about how they have been affected by the actions of administrators. It was an intimate environment with everyone standing close to each other in unity.


Students voiced their discontent with Gonzalez's leadership. Their passion and calls for action caused the crowd to erupt in cheering, clapping and whistling. One student even showed his support by banging on a garbage can.

In addition to the march, 900 letters signed by students, faculty and staff advocating for changes in the priorities of the CSU administration were delivered to Gonzalez's office. Requested changes included making class availability and instruction a priority.

Students who could not fit into the building stood outside listening to speakers talk about current student issues, empowerment and administration demands.

At 9 p.m. Wednesday, 15 students were still occupying the lobby of Sacramento Hall with the intent of staying the night.

Organizer Amanda Mooers, senior sociology major, said students will be occupying the building until they meet with Gonzalez to go over the demands from students, faculty and staff.

Junior history major Nora Walker said they are collaborating with the police for permission to stay overnight.
"Tonight is a good example of how far we're willing to go," Walker said.

She was disappointed that Gonzalez was not on campus during the demonstration.
"He decided to leave campus and he had the opportunity to listen to students and now he has to," Walker said.

Students for Quality Education said their request for a meeting with Gonzalez was left unanswered by Mike Lee, vice president of Academic Affairs.

"I feel like to be most effective, he needs to know we're here and he wasn't here. In order to negotiate something and not cause a scene, he needs to be with us instead of just coming to his office tomorrow," said Addison Pressnalle Duff, senior sociology major.

Student organizer Yeimi Lopez, senior communication studies major, said the education of the youth is at stake.

"If our youth cannot get into the CSU system, they will be funneled into the prison system or lower-paying jobs," Lopez said.

Pressnalle Duff said spending the night in Sacramento Hall is a great experience.

"We're all from different walks of life and majors but we hold that communal solidarity," Pressnalle Duff said.

Mallory Fites can be reached at mfites@statehornet.com

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