Campus: CSU Fullerton -- April 19, 2004

Students Organize Campuswide Walkout In Protest Over State Budget Cuts In Education

A group of students calling themselves “Students Informing Students” (SIS) at California State University, Fullerton has organized with Associated Students Inc. (ASI) to protest the proposed budget cuts to the CSU statewide system. In cooperation with the California Faculty Association, SIS is staging a walkout on April 29 at noon to rally in the Quad at CSUF.

“Our goal is to inform students on how detrimental these budget cuts will be to their education,” said Tatianne Velo, one of the founding members of SIS.

Community leaders are expected to attend the rally to support the CSUF role in continued economic growth. Students and faculty will speak of personal experiences and how these budget cuts will affect their lives. The rally will feature guest speaker Gus Chavez, former director of the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP) at San Diego State University and widely considered to be the “grandfather” of EOP. Chavez will speak on behalf of the importance of public education and the resources that public schools provide to those who otherwise would be unable to obtain an education.

“We will have booths and information available to the students to get them involved,” said Nicole Risdall, one of the founding members of SIS. “The students will be able to sign a letter for their local legislator, which will also be sent to the Governor. Then in May students from all campuses statewide are going to Sacramento to meet with the governor. We want to give students, faculty and staff an outlet and means for action.”

According to an Economic Impact study conducted by faculty members in the CSUF College of Business and Economics, CSUF and its students generate $828.5 million in economic activity and support nearly 12,000 full- and part-time jobs.

“The irony of reducing student admission is that fewer students mean less revenue,” said Adam Byrnes, director of statewide affairs for ASI, responding to the governor’s budget proposal to reduce admission statewide by rejecting 22,000 qualified applicants. “This is really going to have a significant impact on the economy of California because lower enrollment equals a lower number of graduates. And a lower number of graduates equals a lower amount of workers who add money to the economy and tax rolls.

“Over the past two years, CSU has already suffered a 20 percent decrease in state support. In the 1970s, the state was spending approximately 6.5 percent of the General Fund on the CSU – today it is only 3.5 percent. There has been a significant decline in per-student spending from the General Fund. In the 1980-81 academic year, the CSU received $10,742 per student (in 2002/03 dollars). Last year spending dropped to $8,426 per student, which equates to a 21.6 percent drop in student spending from the state, ” he noted.

The theme of this campaign is “STAND UP! It’s YOUR education at stake!” The meaning behind this slogan is to “motivate students into action,” said Risdall. “We want students to know that if we all unite and take a stance, our 31,000 voices will be heard.”

“This is a call to action on behalf of the students and the community to protect the future of California’s economy and growth,” said Tammy Chase, one of the founding members of SIS.

CONTACT: Adam Byrnes Associated Students, Director of Statewide Affairs, (714) 278-4226, dirstatewide@fullerton.edu


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