By Nin Garcia |Staff Writer|
CSU Chancellor Charles Reed’s failure to respond to concerns has urged CSUSB student Natalie Dorado to go on a hunger strike until the Board of Trustees meet students’ demands.
The hunger strike began May 2 and involves 13 other student members of Students for Quality of Eduation (SQE) across the CSU system.
Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, Sacramento and San Bernardino campuses will be participating.
Dorado says she intends to continue her fast with the other SQE members until tuition fees stop increasing. They are also advocating for administrative salary allowances from all 23 campus executives’ to be eliminated. The SQE is fighting for greater voice for students.
According to the LA Times, CSU campuses have lost nearly $1 billion in state funding since 2008, forcing cuts to classes, faculty and staff layoffs, and denial of entry of up to 16,000 students.
Tuition has increased for six years in a row, including a nine percent hike this fall that will raise the annual rate for undergraduates up to $5,970, not including campus-based fees that average more than $1,000.
The university also announced plans to freeze enrollment for Spring 2013, and to wait list all applicants the following fall pending the outcome of a proposed tax initiative on the November ballot.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown, and several legislators have criticized trustees as for their ridiculous awarding of a 10 percent pay allowance to new campus presidents, as students and families struggle to pay tuition.
During her fasting she has been receiving a lot of support from fellow core SQE, faculty and staff members. Despite only drinking water and protein drinks, she said sleeping has been good and the Health Center here on campus has been checking on her to make sure she is hydrated and her body is functioning properly without food.
“I feel positive about this, I am empowered by students and seeing them empowered makes me feel good to know I am fighting with them and for them. This gives me a lot of encouragement. It just feels right,” said Dorado.
The only help she said she needs is from the students’ support and by posting updates on Facebook; just getting the word out to students so they know she is fighting for them.
“I think Natalie has a lot of will and courage to do what she is doing, and it just inspires me to fight for what I believe in as well,” said student Jorge Gutierrez.
SQE put up an all day hunger strike action tent on May 3 from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. At the tent there was a giant paper note for students to stop and post their opinion giving them a chance to speak out.
Once they had the note filled, they took them out to Long Beach where they met up with other student strikers. Along with the note, there was a featured speaker, a drum circle and an art show for students to come together to fight against the budget cuts. All of which was recorded and sent to the other hunger strikers, the CSU Board of Trustees and Gov. Brown.
Photos by Nin Garcia