By Nin Garcia |Staff Writer|
Efforts by CSU students who engaged in a hunger strike over soaring tuition and high executive pay have come to an end after 10 consecutive days.
“Abnormal body functions” led students to fall back from the hunger strike.
“We’re tired, our bodies are tired but our spirits are strong and we will continue to fight to claim what is ours, to stand in solidarity with campus presidents, faculty and other students to claim our university,” said CSUSB striker Natalie Dorado.
Dorado said students were heartened by an outpouring of support from the university community. “There is a sense of relief in that, hopefully, there will be no long-term damage that the students will have brought on themselves. We’ve always been concerned about their health,” said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the university system.
The hunger strike began May 2 and involve 13 students that are members of Students for Quality of Education (SQE) across the CSU system.
They intended to fast with the other SQE members until tuition fees stop increasing. They were also advocating for administrative salary allowances from all 23 campus executives’ to be eliminated.
Protesting students made their presence known outside a dinner meeting at the home of Cal State Chancellor Charles Reed.
Many of the Cal State leaders, who attended the dinner, including board of trustee members and some university presidents, were greeted at the sidewalk outside Reed’s house by the protestors. The protestors chanted, “Reed, Reed, stop the greed. Give the students what they need.”
On May 9, the governing board of CSU agreed to freeze state-funded salaries for new presidents. It will stop pay increases for all of the system’s college presidents; the only exception would be if they were to receive funding from private funds within the CSU systems up to 10 percent, according to the Daily News.
The new plan will be in effect for two years, according to the Los Angeles Times. Reed has argued that competitive salaries are needed to attract top talent. University leaders said they hoped that asking individual campus foundations, rather than taxpayers to foot more of the bill, will address concerns.
The chancellor has also met with students and agreed to extend free-speech rights, which means people may be able to hand out fliers or set up booths in busier areas of campus.
“Our demands aren’t off the table,” said Donnie Bessom, a graduate student in political science. “We will keep fighting.”
Bessom said through striking students learned not to expect instant gratification and that change takes time with thousands of students recruited for next year.
“Overall, we’re feeling good.The support of my parents and friends along with SQE members got me through,” said Dorado.