Thousands expected at CSU budget protest

More than 3,000 Cal State Long Beach students, faculty and staff are expected to rally today in coordination with budget protests held at each of the 23 Cal State University campuses. 

The rallies, which are aimed at protesting recently proposed budgets cuts to the CSU, will call for more to be taken from executives and administrators rather than faculty and staff salaries. The rally will also protest student fee increases.

The 23 campuses, in total, may face anywhere between a $500 million to $1 billion decrease in state funding. 

“We do need Chancellor [Charles B.] Reed’s attention,” said Teri Yamada, president of CSULB’s chapter of the California Faculty Association and professor of Asian Studies. “Instead of focusing money on raises for administrators, they need to be spending these funds on students and courses.”

Reed took over as the chancellor of the CSU in 1998. In his tenure, student fees have risen from $1,506 to $4,884 per year, while his salary has gone from $254,004 to $421,500 per year, the CFA says. 

The CSU maintains that the Chancellor’s Office has sustained higher cuts to its budget than faculty and staff salaries.

CSULB was host to a budget march last year, and organizers are using that event as a learning experience for today’s rally, Yamada said.

Then, Yamada organized a series of nine speakers along with civil rights songs that were performed by the Gospel Memorial Church of Long Beach.

“They have an award-winning choir there, and I thought that this was kind of a new civil rights movement,” Yamada said.

Organizers of this year’s rally, however, are expecting a more serious effort, calling public education a civil rights issue.

“No one will dance in the Brotman fountain,” wrote Donnie Bessom, a CSULB graduate student in political science and a speaker at the rally.

Event organizers don’t expect immediate changes, but they are optimistic that it will be a step in continued action.

“The message for students is that they’re going to have to really … get active,” Yamada said. “It’s got to be a concerted, thoughtful effort.”

The “Rally to Support Quality Public Higher Education at CSULB” will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at the bell tower outside the University Student Union and will conclude with a march to Brotman Hall.

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