Students for Quality Education rally against tuition hikes

by Eric Sanchez | Asst. News Editor |

CSUSB students gathered to protest rising tuition fees and to voice their concerns over the quality of higher education in California on Nov. 16 in front of the Pfau Library.

Eric Sanchez | Chronicle Photo

Wesley Porter, southern regional vice president of the Student California Teachers Association (SCTA) spoke on the importance of solidarity.

Representatives of Students for Quality Education (SQE) and community activists gave speeches about how they say inequalities between university administration and the students and faculty are making it harder to obtain their college degree.
The CSU board of trustees voted to increase tuition system-wide for next year by nine percent earlier that same day, according to the LA Times.

Along with the nine percent tuition increase, the board also included a request for Gov. Jerry Brown and the state legislature to restore $333 million to the CSU budget for the same school year.

“While there is still so much uncertainty in the state’s fiscal condition, we wanted to provide students and parents with as much notice as possible that tuition will go up in the fall. That said, we must all work with state leaders to restore the funding needed to maintain access and quality for CSU students,” CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said in the release.

The CSU expressed that it is also pursuing ways to lighten the financial load of students who do not qualify for government aid.

“We recognize that increased tuition impacts many of our students in varying degrees, so we will be looking at financial aid options for students who have not to this point been eligible for full financial aid,” said Reed.

Community activist Adrian Murillo gave a speech at the Nov. 16 rally which likened California college students’ tuition woes to the motivations of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Murillo spoke about how he believes students and all those oppressed by the big business mentality need to band together in solidarity in order for this country to become more equal.

“We live in an occupied country, misunderstood; justice will take millions of intricate moves,” Murillo ended his speech by quoting the poet William Stafford.

Much attention at the rally focused on the future leadership of CSUSB, citing how current president Dr. Albert K. Karnig will be retiring at the end of this school year.

SQE member, Francesca Aguilar believes that any signing bonus the new president would receive would be a bribe to go along with more fee raises.

The Chancellor’s office will begin looking for a replacement for Karnig in January, according to Black Voice News.

Along with this she noted how she believes the new president may not have much choice in speaking out against tuition increases.

“They know if they talk they will lose their job,” said Aguilar.

At the rally SQE members and supporters signed their names on a letter to be sent to Chancellor Reed and Lou Monville, chair of the Special Committee on Presidential Selection and Compensation for CSU, calling for a student voice in the selection of the new CSUSB president, a position currently filled only by appointment.

Aguilar left the soon-to-be-announced president with one piece of advice: “Represent the students and not yourself,” said Aguilar.

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