California State U. Fresno Students Urged To Protest Budget

This story was written by Megan Bakker, The Collegian
California State University at Fresno officials are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore. They want students to stop taking it, too.

In this case, "it" refers to the $386.1 million in proposed cuts to the California State University system.

These cuts could mean increasing class sizes, not hiring additional teachers and administrators, and turning away more than 10,000 future applicants who would otherwise have been admitted.

Fresno State itself would lose $24 million and have to admit 600 fewer students to compensate for the cuts.

Yesterday, a panel of 14 Fresno State staff members collectively urged students to get involved to fight the cuts.

Among them was Lisa Weston, the president of the California Faculty Association (CFA) and an English instructor.

"I think we need to be well and truly pissed off," Weston said.

She asked attendees of the panel discussion, held in a packed Satellite Student Union, to get their voice out by writing letters to newspapers and legislators, and asked for volunteers to speak at future events.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed the cuts to bring the budget under control.

However, a cut from the CSU system would have far-reaching consequences. A fact sheet prepared for the panel said the cut would end up costing the state over $1 billion.

University President John D. Welty said during the discussion that cuts mostly hurt students who are the first in their families to go to school, or from lower-income households.

"We should not place roadblocks in their paths to achieve their dreams," Welty said.

He said that there are three million California workers that are going to retire within the next 10 years, especially in crucial areas such as nursing and teaching. In order to fill the coming labor gap, schools need to train those workers now.

The decrease in students attending college, whether because they could no longer afford it due to increasing student fees or were never admitted in the first place, would hurt California's future, Welty said.

"Now is not the time for investments in our future to be cut," he said.

Associated Students, Inc. President Juan Pablo Moncayo said that during the last round of budget cuts that happened between 2002 and 2005, he had two friends that had to stop attending Fresno State because they could not afford it anymore.

Again and again, the panel returned to calls for action.

"These proposed budget cuts are not a done deal," said Diane Blair, a communication instructor and CFA member. "Speak up for the CSU. Get everyone involved."

Students who missed the panel but want to get involved can go to to learn more.
© 2008 The Collegian via U-WIRE