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Indybay Feature
Sat Oct 24 2009
Fresno State Students Walkout, Take Over 4th Floor of Library
Students Protest Fresno State University Becoming For-Profit Corporation
On October 21st, Fresno State saw one of its largest mobilizations since the 1960s. The student walkout was in protest against the recent fee increase of 32% (fees go up almost every year typically by around 10%), class furloughs (pay more get less), over-crowded classrooms, faculty layoffs, staff layoffs, a corrupt administration, a corrupt Associated Students, Inc., which refuses to represent the students, and the entire California State University (CSU) system. The CSU master plan from the 60s promised free education to all, but the university is now run like a for-profit corporation.

A rally was attended by 300 students and faculty who 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! [university president] Welty's gotta go!". This march went down Shaw from Maple to Cedar and around the Shaw/Cedar intersection several times before rallying in front of the school.

After the march, a group of students took a list of demands to President Welty's office on the 4th floor of the library -- during 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 to come up, so the delegation instead took the stairs. Once the small group made it up, it was met in the hallway by campus police who said President Welty was not there. As this dialogue was going on, students just kept coming out of the elevators, and by the end the students had moved forward nearly 30 feet and 80 students were clogging the hallway leading to the administrators' offices. Welty's assistant explained that the president was at a meeting. The students responded "fine, we'll wait" and all sat down.

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