Several students gathered outside Administration (building 1) this morning to protest the upcoming tuition hike vote on March 22. The protest was organized by Students for Quality Education (SQE).
The students posted banners across campus with phrases such as “The More We Pay, The Longer We Stay” and “@ Cal Poly, People over Profit.” While originally a protest, SQE reorganized it to be a time to pass out and post large amounts of fliers.
Many students said they were concerned not only about tuition hikes, but also about access for education as a whole. One in five California State University (CSU) students are food insecure and one in 10 are homeless, according to a study commissioned by CSU Chancellor Timothy White.
Here’s a look at the CSU’s current budget allocation:
Students for Quality Education member and political science junior Mick Bruckner said the CSU system is trying to increase middle-class graduation without looking into deep-rooted issues. According to the current edition of the Cal Poly Factbook, fees have risen more than 60 percent.
“We think it’s ridiculous that administrators would try to raise tuition under the guise of helping more students graduate, because that is a classist logic,” he said. “It is a profit-driven logic.”
Cal Poly’s response was troubling to students like Bruckner, who are consider California campuses that are pushing for free tuition as an example follow.
“[The hike is] very out of line with where the public is right now,” he said.
Bruckner, along with a few others from the Students for Quality Education, will go to Long Beach to protest the vote. Bruckner said they have rented out churches for students attending the event to sleep in.
Landscape architecture sophomore Jake Scott said many students affected won’t be able to go to Long Beach.
“This stuff matters, and no one is talking about it,” he said. “We’re such a wealthy campus, no one understands how these fees are affecting lower income students.”
Anthropology sophomore Ruthie Matassarin attended for similar reasons. She said the reason she came to the event was because she wouldn’t be able to go to Long Beach.
“People keep telling me change happens slowly, but not a lot of people know this fee increase is happening,” she said.
There were six banners across campus. One was taken down by Engineering IV (building 192) and Bonderson Center (building 197).
Correction: A previous version of this article said seven students gathered to protest. It has been corrected to say several.