All 23 California State University (CSU) campuses will take part in “Class Action,” a rally to bring a voice to students, faculty and staff who are opposed to the recent and proposed education budget cuts. The rally, put on by the California Faculty Association (CFA), will commence April 13 statewide.
Sociology junior and rally organizer Giovanni Prinzivalli said the purpose of the rally is to inform the state and federal government that it is not OK to cut education.
There is a proposed student increase, estimated to be another 30 percent next year. According to Prinzivalli, the increase is for students, staff and faculty because the Academic Senate is proposing an 18-day furlough, and a 10 percent faculty pay cut in an effort to cut costs.
Glen Thorncraft, a Cal Poly mechanical engineering professor and the Cal Poly CFA chapter president who will speak at the rally, said it is proposed that $1 billion could be cut from the CSU system.
“Right now the state only gives us $2.7 billion. So they are talking about a 40 percent cut in what the state contributes to the (system),” Thorncraft said.
The new budget will affect approximately 412,000 students and 43,000 faculty members statewide. Despite this, Thorncraft said he doesn’t want the rally to be seen as “us against them,” but more as a positive message on the importance of funding higher education.
“If you have smart people who by accident of birth happen to be poor and they can’t get educated, then they can’t contribute as much as they possibly could,” Thorncraft said. “We’re missing a huge talent pool out there. We want to tip the balance in favor of the talented and not just the fortunate.”
Thorncraft said CSU chancellor Charles B. Reed has put everything on the table to find a way to deal with the “crisis,” including furloughs, pay cuts, layoffs and tuition increases.
“I hate to say crisis because, if it happens every year, is it really a crisis?” he said.
The CSU public affairs website posts up to date information on the budget talks with the governor, state legislators and Reed, as well as chancellors of other Californian higher education systems.
Erik Fallis, the CSU media relations specialist, said CSUs have been doing everything they can to stay in contact with the government about the issue.
“We are active in Sacramento and we have been advocating as an individual CSU system as well as higher education in California,” Fallis said.
Attendees at the rally can march with signs, conduct video interviews, write postcards to the Board of Trustees and sign petitions to send to Sen. Sam Blakeslee. The rally will also have a short speech portion with several guest speakers from faculty, students and staff, since they cannot have sound amplifiers.
Lanz Nalagan, a political science senior and rally organizer, said the most important part of the rally is to get the students to mobilize in support of their rights.
“The right to education is a fundamental right,” he said.
However, Nalagan said hosting any rally at Cal Poly has “really low salience,” because of low student participation.
“I don’t think people understand that this does negatively affect them,” he said. “It ultimately decides how their education plays out for the rest of their academic career.”
The event will also have free pizza, soda and T-shirts for students. Cal Poly’s CFA chapter will host the event in the University Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.