Hundreds of Students Protest Fee Increases
April 26, 2007 4:52 PM
Over 600 SF State students walked out of classes last Thursday to protest a fee increase for the upcoming school year.
In March, the California Board of Trustees voted to increase CSU fees by 10 percent for the 2007-2008 school year. This would bring full-time undergraduate fees at SF State from $1,583 to $1,728 per semester.
“This is a working-class campus,” said Julian Geaga, 21, who helped organize the walkout. “It’s not fair they pass the cost onto the working class students that the state should be paying for.”
The walkout at SF State follows a string of protests at universities across the state. In the last weeks, students have protested at San Jose State University and Cal State East Bay.
The three main demands of the protestors were to roll back student fees to 2002 levels, stop the cuts in the Education Opportunity Program (EOP), and to offer more classes.
The EOP provides admission, academic, and financial assistance for low-income students.
“(Low income) people need education as well,” said Geaga.
The protest started at Malcolm X Plaza, and steadily gained numbers as they paraded through various buildings on campus.
"I can tell you why I'm out here: I'm broke," said Noel Estes, 21, who was leading chants with a bullhorn. "It sucks being a college student. It’s not fun having $7 dollars in your bank account and not knowing how you’re going to live the next week.”
During the protest, fire alarms in the Humanities, HSS, and Administration buildings sounded. At press time it was unconfirmed why they went off.
“The people who organized this event weren’t involved in pulling the fire alarms,” said Pardis Esmaeili, a physiology major who helped organize the protest. “We wanted to respect the classes and students who didn’t want to walk out.”
When the protest arrived at the Administration building, students chanted for some time, but they became restless and began to make their way inside the building to confront SF State President Robert Corrigan.
Tempers flared as ASI President Maire Fowler, Esmaeili, and others in red shirts tried to block the mob from going in. The organizers were worried that things might get out of hand in the Administration building.
"It definitely wasn't part of the plans," Fowler said. "But it just shows how fired up the student are."
The walkout was backed financially by the CFA and ASI and was organized by students including Geaga and Asella Donovan-Blood.
Some teachers even allowed their students to miss class so they could participate in the protest.
“I excused my students from class today,” said Andy Peri, a geography professor at SF State. “We need to keep education accessible to all the students.”
The protest lasted for more than three hours. At the tail end of the march, students sat inside the Administration building and listened to a few speakers.
Matt Proshka is from Illinois, and he said that the cost of the community colleges there were about equal to what students pay at SF State. As an out of state student, he pays about $5000 a semester in fees.
"I kind of don't know why they're so upset," said Proshka, 26, who was watching the walkout from a distance. "But at the same time, if the fees are able to be lowered, they should. It's better than that money going to line the pockets of some executives."
Most of the students who attended the protest felt that with fee increases would make it very difficult for them to go to school without receiving financial aid, parental help, or working 40 hours a week.
“I work a full-time job and go to school full time,” said Khristina Monroe, 21, who a sociology major. “I can barely afford to make ends meet. Plus, they’re lowering financial aid and cutting classes.”
Additional reporting by Marin Perez
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University