Hundreds protest budget cuts
California State University students from several campuses targeted the governor's budget cut proposal last Wednesday in a rally against another fee hike. Students marched eight blocks outside of Governor Schwarzenegger's restaurant, Schatzi, on Main St. in Santa Monica.
Due to recent budget cuts thousands of students and faculty members have organized such rallies to bring forth awareness to the local communities. "By cutting the budget for education the governor is attacking the American Dream," said Judy Olson, English professor at Cal State Los Angeles.
The governor's revised state budget will be introduced within the next two weeks. "The governor is working solely for the corporations' interests," said Olson.
There were an estimated 300 students and faculty members protesting as well as locals in opposition of the governor's proposal. Students held up picket signs that read, "Stop fee hikes and tax on students" and "Stop terminating education." A large portion of the students were from six CSU campuses-which included Cal State Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles, Northridge, Fullerton, San Bernardino and Pomona.
The CSU's budget for the upcoming year will be the first increase in the budget in three years. "I'm against it. It's not right because most college students aren't economically stable or prepared any budget cuts," said Jimmy Chavez. Student fees have increased because of the state's present budget crisis over the past three years, leaving the education system in turmoil.
He's trying to privatize everything by putting it into corporate hands," said Olson.
According to the California Faculty Association, fees have increased by 63 percent and will increase an additional 8 percent this summer.
This will in turn total a cumulative 76 percent increased in fees in three years. Members of the CFA vigorously held up signs that were in relation with fee increases like: "1/2 billion dollars in cuts is enough-fund CSU" and "Higher education is not a perk."
As a result of the fee hikes classes have been cut, including required courses that are no longer being offered and a vital decrease in financial aid funding.
The current budget crisis has also affected community college students who have also faced a per-unit fee increase. The proposal calls for reductions in financial aid awards as well as Cal Grants that a large fraction of community college students solely rely on.
"We must end the boom-and-bust cycle of widely fluctuation fees with a predictable, capped fee policy for college students and their parents," Schwarzenegger said in his State of the State speech on Jan. 6 of 2004.