Students Protest Fee Hikes at Fresno State

October 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
In what was perhaps the largest demonstration on the Fresno State campus since the seventies, students walked out of class -- and onto the streets of Northeast Fresno. Students ... faculty and staff came together to protest skyrocketing fees and fewer classes. Dozens of students trickled out of class shortly after ten on Wednesday and gathered at the peace garden in the center of campus.One protestor yelled into the microphone, "They did this!!!! They cut six hundred million dollars from education!!!"

Students took to the microphone to attack state legislators for spending millions on prisons while hacking away at higher education. Others shouted their support for AB 656 - an assembly bill that would tax oil companies to help pay for public education. Though their methods were different, their message was the same.

Melissa Mata of Associated Students Inc. said, "I think the bottom line is that we need to work together to let our legislators in Sacramento know that we DO care about our education and it's not okay for us not to be totally funded."

By noon the crowd swelled to several hundred and shouts of "walk out" reverberated across campus and onto surrounding streets. The protestors want state legislators to know they're tired of paying more and getting less of an education. Even faculty members like Victor Torres joined in.

Victor Torres, Chairman of the Chicano Studies Department said, "The California State University system was designed to educate the lower class and the middle class. This is a burden on them and their families and will exclude many of them from getting an education."

Not all students were convinced a walkout would produce results. Pardeet Binning has already tried protesting fee increases. The sophomore said, "We tried ... we went to the state capitol a couple of months ago and nothing happened. If a few thousand students isn't going to do anything ... what's a few hundred going to do?"

If nothing else ... the word is out ... Fresno state students are not going to be quiet.



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