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Fresno State Students walkout, take over 4th floor of library
by CSU Walkout Coalition (phalsephasod [at] csufresno.edu)
Thursday Oct 22nd, 2009 5:17 PM
This Wednesday October 21st, Fresno State saw one of it's largest mobilizations since the 60s. The Student Walkout was in protest to the most recent fee increase of 32% (fees go up almost every year by around 10% usually), class furloughs (pay more get less!), over-crowded classrooms, faculty lay-offs, staff layoffs, corrupt administration, corrupt ASI who refuses to represent the students, really to challenge the entire CSU system. The CSU master plan from the 1960s promised free education to all, now the university is a for-profit corporation.
60 min of video footage from inside the 4th floor sit-in.
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
This Wednesday October 21st, Fresno State saw one of it's largest mobilizations since the 60s. The Student Walkout was in protest to the most recent fee increase of 32% (fees go up almost every year by around 10% usually), class furloughs (pay more get less!), over-crowded classrooms, faculty lay-offs, staff layoffs, corrupt administration, corrupt ASI who refuses to represent the students, really to challenge the entire CSU system. The CSU master plan from the 1960s promised free education to all, now the university is a for-profit corporation.
The rally before the march was well attended fluctuating from 100-300 students and faculty. People spoke and expressed their shared rage.
This was followed by a march of well over 600 students chanting things like "no cuts! no fees! education should be free!" and "hey! hey! ho! ho! Welty's gotta go!". This march went down Shaw from Maple to Cedar and went around the Shaw/Cedar intersection several times before rallying in front of the school.
After the march there was a post-rally followed by a group of the students taking the list of demands to Welty's office on the 4th floor of the library (in the rally there were many references to Welty's tower where he could look down on his subjects and maintain inaccessibility). The students were initially met by campus police who blocked the elevator saying they had to make sure it was okay for us to come up, so we took the stairs. Once the small group made it up there we were met in the hallway by campus police who said President Welty was not there, we asked where he was. As this dialogue was going on, students just kept coming out of the elevators, eventually they had to let us further in so everyone could fit, by the end we had moved forward nearly 30 feet and had 80 students clogging up the hallway leading to the administators offices. We talked to Welty's assistant who explained that he was at a meeting. The then-non-organizer students said "fine, we'll wait" and all sat down. This is a very amazing sight for an organizer especially at fresno state where there seems to be a lot of apathy. VP Olario came out and we had "dialogue" with him for over an hour until Welty actually came back and agreed to a public meeting on Nov. 3 in the peace garden at noon. This is where he will respond to our demands (which he has previously ignored repeatedly) and hear directly from the students in front of media.
Fresno Copwatch was present and captured the interaction with admin.



RESOLUTION FOR THE COMPLIANCE OF CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, STUDENT/FACULTY DEMANDS

WHEREAS, the representatives of the people in the California State Assembly and State Senate and the Governor have chosen to put the profits of corporations and the wealth of the richest Californians ahead of the basic needs of the people, including college students; and faculty.

WHEREAS, the administrators of the CSU system, starting with Charles Reed and the Board of Trustees have completely failed to defend the basic interests of the university while continuing to accept obscene salaries (some larger than the President of the United States) and benefits, and

WHEREAS, student fees have tripled over the last decade while the quality of education has deteriorated severely, and course offerings have been dramatically reduced

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Students/Faculty of California State University demand that:

1. That the recent student fee increase be abolished and all funds derived from the 32%

increase be refunded to students; student fees be returned to the level they were at in the year 2000 and that no student fee increase be allowed that exceeds the rate of annual inflation or 4% annually, whichever is lower;

2. That all administrative perks and privileges from associate deans up through the chancellor be immediately rescinded including free houses, free cars, free travel, and any other such privileges not available to faculty; and no salary exceed double the average base annual salaries for the top paid professors at each of the 23 campuses;

3. That all furlough days be abolished, professors that have been laid-off be reinstated, and that all classes that have been cut be re-established.

4. That current CSU Fresno budget be reviewed by a special committee of faculty and students (the committee to be elected by students and faculty members) and that any such projects and programs deemed non-essential be eliminated

5. That funding for these demands be achieved through the support of a severance tax on oil extracted in California as provided for in Assembly Bill 656 as well as a surtax of 2% on the income of any California citizen whose annual income exceeds one million dollars

LET IF FURTHER BE RESOLVED that all students, student organizations, student government, all faculty, faculty bodies, as well as any administrators of conscience to support these reasonable demands and a CSU system-wide walkout on October 21, 2009. Failure to comply with these demands will be met by increased levels of activism by students.
§admin confrontation part2
by CSU Walkout Coalition Thursday Oct 22nd, 2009 5:17 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Justin
Saturday Oct 24th, 2009 11:33 PM
Great coverage my friends, I appreciated this read
by rise up sf state
Sunday Oct 25th, 2009 12:41 PM
yo good job Fresno State! Greetings and solidarity from a fellow activist at SF State! thank you for posting the whole interaction so we can analyze and learn from it. its very interesting to see the similarities between what you and other CSU's are going through at the local campus level.

thanks you for making actual demands and winning a concrete next step (the open meeting). thank you for taking direct action and occupying at the President's office to direct the attention towards the problem, and documenting the action so you can reflect and move forward with the movement. Thank you for making the struggle relevant to the community you are working with and setting a good example for the rest of us.

1. last year we did a sit in at the President's office and a similar a douchebag vice President of whatever popped out and made most of the same talking points,
2. Admin is directing us toward our corrupt and worthless student government, which they typically control the agendas of (Lobby Corps my ass)
3. when we disrupt business as usual at the university we see they are talking about listening and dialogue. This shows that direct action gets satisfaction.
4. the moderate organizer, while being very polite and professional, actually ended up collaborating in de-escalating the action by explaining on behalf of the administrators, easing tension and diverting students toward writing letters to and lobbying corrupt and worthless politicians and even suggesting lobbying and taking over ASI. As the organizer in the video said, there is a process for this kind of organizing, and self-identified radicals should understand it even if they dont have the patience to engage it:

(the CFA/ SQE reform approach is important for activating new students in ways that are familiar to them, escalating the struggle and capacity of the movement, creating a means for students to become radicalized and disillusioned with the dead-end process of reform and "representative" spectator-democracy, and clearly illustrating the case that those methods are truly dead ends, and at least you can trust the naive students who have faith in status quo 'democracy' who are willing to bang their heads on the bureaucratic wall and be used and sold out by the unions and politicians. you can probably trust them more than some self-identified revolutionaries who talk about militant action but dont actually take any action, have no respect for direct democracy and instead spend their time writing critiques of other people's struggles for their newspapers, which is also a problem.)

What can we do? Regarding "budget crisis" rhetoric and being redirected by the CSU Admin toward the state legislature:

a)As you already know from looking at the campus and CSU budgets, in each CSU the money still exists to keep classes going and and lecturers employed--its just being used for redevelopment construction, and perks and bloated salaries for executives, which you pointed out. Also look at manager salaries. you will find the rest of the money by demanding that managers were paid equal to lecturers (not professors who make over $70,000 on average and mostly dont care about us right now) for this reason, for campus-based injustice issues, and to keep the struggle relevant and accessible to the CSU community you are organizing with, each campus is worth occupying on its own, but the root of the problem is bigger.

b) CSU-wide: the Trustees of the CSU are also guilty of not fighting the CA legislature for funding and basically embezzeling public money through taxes and fees. their job is to shrink the CSU, drive it into the ground and gentrify and privatize it. they are all CEO's of various CA corporations, including military corporations, so they dont care about the public, lets get past that.

c) the CA State is in fact the ultimate site of struggle over the education budget and beyond. They are defunding and privatizing the entire public sector, crushing unions, shrinking jobs, replacing ghettos with condos and increasing spending for prisons, the only logical reason for which is that their top priority is profit for the rich and us pissed off poor people are less of a threat to them in cages.

that said, we need to make the same case at the state level that this isnt an issue of "crisis" but an issue of "justice." (Budget justice, social justice, economic justice, etc)

we need to show that the money is there in prison spending and redevelopment funding, tax loopholes, corporate welfare, profits, salaries and global capital.

As we push for a STRIKE, eventually including the entire public sector, students should start OCCUPYING the offices of legislators and icons of corporate greed, hopefully with seniors, disabled, welfare workers, unemployed, homeless and foreclosed, domestic violence groups, and people who need health care. Hooking up with the rest of the public sector is strategic necessity--students have political capital and the wilingness to risk what it takes to win but wlefare and social services usually gets pitted against us and they have the clear moral leverage to remind us that public services are rights and not privileges.
Many corporations and all state politicians have offices in our hometowns, so we dont necessarily need to focus on Sacramento.

while we're locked down or locked up there will be plenty of time for over-intellectualizing and arguing over what kind of revolution we want, but we need to take the fight to the source--thats my kinda lobbying :)

thanks Fresno for setting a good example and fanning the flames of discontent and struggle!

Much love,

your typical fellow traveller :)
by mike howells
(howellnow [at] bellsouth.net) Sunday Nov 1st, 2009 8:26 PM
Judging from what's happened in post-Katrina New Orleans students and workers at Fresno State are making the right decision to mobilize in the streets to stop the cutbacks at the university. The authorities, national and local, virtually dismantled public services here just when they were most needed, in the aftermath of Katrina.
Many New Orleanians harbored the mistaken belief that something could be gained by appealing hat in hand to the authorities and economic elites who effectively dictated the policies of the so-called recovery program. Nothing could be further from the truth. National and local elites saw the havoc wreaked in the wake of Katrina as a golden opportunity to demolish public housing, effectively dismantle public education and shut down the city's only public hospital. The few remnants of the pre-Katrina safety net that still exist in New Orleans laregely because Katrina survivors answered the attacks of the powers that be on public services with well timed and persistent protests and direct actions from below. This is certainly the case why the Iberville Housing Development, one of five traditional public housing developments open in N.O. at the time of Katrina, is the one public housing complex still open here.

There is no doubt in my mind that Washington and Sacramento are just as committed to using the economic crisis as a pretext for gutting California's public services as Washington and Baton Rouge were to using Katrina as pretext for dismantling public services in New Orleans. And I am just as convinced that the battle over the fate of pulic services in California will be won or lost in the streets. I wish the students and workers every success in their fight to defend public education in Fresno.

Mike Howells, C3/Hands Off Iberville

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