Students against fee increase to strike for quality education

Grace Chon

Students associated with the California Faculty Association and affiliated with the CSU organization, Students for Quality Education, are still moving forward with plans for a potential student strike designed to halt the proposed ten percent tuition fee increase and save the Educational Opportunity Program from imminent budget cuts.

But before any plans of a strike, Students for Quality Education are planning a student rally at the Bayramian Hall Courtyard on April 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organizers hope to lure prospective student strikers, and raise awareness as to the financial plight of many, with food and live bands.

“I’m sure we can get 500 students out there, no problem,” said Justin Rivas, an EOP student worker who is one of the students putting the rally together. “Five-hundred students would be great but that won’t be enough to get the message across. We need 1,000 to 2,000 students to make more of an impact and then change will be seen.”

Some volunteer students have been coming together in the past few weeks, handing out fliers at CSUN, and crafting banners in available classrooms across campus. They are adamant about what they are doing but feel uneasy about the outcome of the recent faculty contract, which was negotiated before the planned strike.

“I feel like they left us in the middle,” said Stephanie Barahona, a freshman political science major. “Before students were supportive about the strike but now nobody shows up.”

About 1,000 students signed up saying they were committed to the strike with the CFA but the contract agreement created a pause within the students.

The idea of moving forward to fight for the students’ right to quality education at an accessible price was never questioned, according to volunteers, after faculty achieved contract negotiations.

The CFA says they are supportive of the student cause along with groups like MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan) and MSA (Muslim Student Association).

“Faculty can’t legally support an action like that (strike) but that doesn’t mean they can’t support us,” said Enrique Galan, a senior Chicano/a studies major that has been organizing events with Rivas.

“Students should still do a strike but we need to build strength again.”

To build strength and numbers, a MySpace Web site was created at, fliers are being handed out across campus, and e-mail and phone numbers are accessible in case of any questions.

The site expresses the disapproval of an additional tuition increase of 10 percent, acknowledges that financial aid is decreasing, as fees have been increasing, and raises awareness as to the $7 million in budget cuts that are in store for EOP students.

The decision to raise tuition for the upcoming fall semester will be finalized May 15. Students recognize that halting that decision may be difficult.

“This cannot be won overnight,” said Rivas, the EOP student worker. “But there is still a chance.