This Wednesday October 21st, Fresno State saw one of it’s largest mobilizations since the 60s. The Student Walkout was in protest to the most recent fee increase of 32% (fees go up almost every year by around 10% usually), class furloughs (pay more get less!), over-crowded classrooms, faculty lay-offs, staff layoffs, corrupt administration, corrupt ASI who refuses to represent the students, really to challenge the entire CSU system. The CSU master plan from the 1960s promised free education to all, now the university is a for-profit corporation.
The rally before the march was well attended fluctuating from 100-300 students and faculty. People spoke and expressed their shared rage.
This was followed by a march of well over 600 students chanting things like “no cuts! no fees! education should be free!” and “hey! hey! ho! ho! Welty’s gotta go!”. This march went down Shaw from Maple to Cedar and went around the Shaw/Cedar intersection several times before rallying in front of the school.
After the march there was a post-rally followed by a group of the students taking the list of demands to Welty’s office on the 4th floor of the library (in the rally there were many references to Welty’s tower where he could look down on his subjects and maintain inaccessibility). The students were initially met by campus police who blocked the elevator saying they had to make sure it was okay for us to come up, so we took the stairs. Once the small group made it up there we were met in the hallway by campus police who said President Welty was not there, we asked where he was. As this dialogue was going on, students just kept coming out of the elevators, eventually they had to let us further in so everyone could fit, by the end we had moved forward nearly 30 feet and had 80 students clogging up the hallway leading to the administators offices. We talked to Welty’s assistant who explained that he was at a meeting. The then-non-organizer students said “fine, we’ll wait” and all sat down. This is a very amazing sight for an organizer especially at fresno state where there seems to be a lot of apathy. VP Olario came out and we had “dialogue” with him for over an hour until Welty actually came back and agreed to a public meeting on Nov. 3 in the peace garden at noon. This is where he will respond to our demands (which he has previously ignored repeatedly) and hear directly from the students in front of media.
Fresno Copwatch was present and captured the interaction with admin.
RESOLUTION FOR THE COMPLIANCE OF CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, STUDENT/FACULTY DEMANDS
WHEREAS, the representatives of the people in the California State Assembly and State Senate and the Governor have chosen to put the profits of corporations and the wealth of the richest Californians ahead of the basic needs of the people, including college students; and faculty.
WHEREAS, the administrators of the CSU system, starting with Charles Reed and the Board of Trustees have completely failed to defend the basic interests of the university while continuing to accept obscene salaries (some larger than the President of the United States) and benefits, and
WHEREAS, student fees have tripled over the last decade while the quality of education has deteriorated severely, and course offerings have been dramatically reduced
LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Students/Faculty of California State University demand that:
1. That the recent student fee increase be abolished and all funds derived from the 32%
increase be refunded to students; student fees be returned to the level they were at in the year 2000 and that no student fee increase be allowed that exceeds the rate of annual inflation or 4% annually, whichever is lower;
2. That all administrative perks and privileges from associate deans up through the chancellor be immediately rescinded including free houses, free cars, free travel, and any other such privileges not available to faculty; and no salary exceed double the average base annual salaries for the top paid professors at each of the 23 campuses;
3. That all furlough days be abolished, professors that have been laid-off be reinstated, and that all classes that have been cut be re-established.
4. That current CSU Fresno budget be reviewed by a special committee of faculty and students (the committee to be elected by students and faculty members) and that any such projects and programs deemed non-essential be eliminated
5. That funding for these demands be achieved through the support of a severance tax on oil extracted in California as provided for in Assembly Bill 656 as well as a surtax of 2% on the income of any California citizen whose annual income exceeds one million dollars
LET IF FURTHER BE RESOLVED that all students, student organizations, student government, all faculty, faculty bodies, as well as any administrators of conscience to support these reasonable demands and a CSU system-wide walkout on October 21, 2009. Failure to comply with these demands will be met by increased levels of activism by students.