Saturday, 19 November 2011

Guerrilla Think

Sit-In @ CSU Monterey Bay

Posted in CSU Monterey Bay, Support & Solidarity on March 3, 2011 by guerrillathink

At 12:00pm today, March 2nd,  The National Day to Defend Education, around 50 students, staff, faculty and community members gathered in the main quad of CSU Monterey Bay for the scheduled “Speak-Out” that day for students to voice their concerns. After 20 minutes of some rowdy and tribal noise-making and drumming, a couple of students called for everyone to gather around. Handouts were passed out that explained how “Chancellor Greed” continues to get paid exorbitant amounts of money to dismantle the CSU system of higher education, all the while our tuition is in a state of perpetual increase.

A couple of students gave a couple of small and rousing speeches while egging the crowd on for their opinion… and then, in the words of one student:

The only way to make the administrators who run the CSU system listen to us,
is if we force them to listen!
The Administration building is RIGHT THERE!
Let’s march up there,
sit down,
and refuse to leave until our demands are met.

And that’s exactly what the collective group decided to do. They marched up to the top of the hill and preceded into the lobby of Building 1. A couple students demanded an audience with top administrators, and we happened to catch the Provost, The Dean of Students, and several other administrators.

A very lively and animated discussion transpired concerning the specific demands that were issued by a student organization called “Students for Quality Education.” The same student organization that organized the Speak Out, and last year’s March 4th rally.

You can find their initial list of demands here.

Many, MANY issues were brought up concerning several issues across the board.

Many were campus specific; such as ousting Sodexo from CSUMB.

Many were concerning the processes in which democracy & shared governance are practiced and the structure of the university itself.

and of course, we continued to advocate on behalf of the students and their future (the future of California!), declaring that tuition increases are only going to further burden the students, and deny access to the very people that this University was built to serve; “The campus will be distinctive in serving the diverse people of California, especially the working class and historically undereducated and low-income populations.”
In the end, the Administrators continued to repeat the same ole cadence of “join this committee, go to that meeting.”  despite our repeated efforts to explain to them that we simply aren’t capable of being stretched any thinner than we already are (Most students have jobs on top of full-time enrollment at the university, which leaves little time for anything else). The students continued to reiterate that there are systemic issues and contradictions that continue to inhibit change and devalue the quality of our education in a time of economic crisis.

A compromise of sorts was made; The Administrators feel that the students (& other csumb community members) ought to address these demands through the proper avenues of shared governance, but the students feel that the processes themselves snuff any flame of real progress, that the students need to look out for their personal livelihoods, and that ultimately without the students, there is no university.Therefore, the idea was proposed for a second meeting, at the Associated Students (the Student’s elected officials & representatives who were conspicuously absent at the Speak out & Sit-in) Meeting this next Monday, March 7th @ Noon

students. with specific demands. that need to be met.

students. with specific demands. that need to be met.

You can find the specific, elaborated demands here.

And the Facebook Event here.

Facebook Event Text:

Wednesday at our Speak out we decided to bring our concerns directly to the administration. Students, staff, faculty, and community supporters marched to the administration office and demanded to talk to the CSUMB Administration. From that meeting the administrators agreed to come to the Associated Students meeting on Monday, March 7th to discuss ways that the students, AS, and administrators could work together to meet the conc…erns of students.

Agenda topics for AS meeting March 7th, 2011

· Remove Sodexo from campus
· Remove Sodexo’s monopoly on campus
· Eliminate mandatory meal plans

Alternative Food Service
· Hire food service workers directly
· Create student/worker run food cooperatives on campus
· Allow farmers markets and local food vendors on campus

· Do not militarize our campus by implementing an ROTC program

· Tell the Students, Faculty, and Staff how the current budget is being spent here at CSUMB
· Place a link on the website that provides a detailed model of the university governing structure

Budget Cuts, Tuition Increases, and Graduation Rates
· Do not use graduation rates as a measure of the quality of education
· Students are unable to graduate quickly because of annual budget cuts and tuition increases. These system-wide policies force us to work multiple jobs and take a high level of units while workloads for staff and faculty increase while their numbers decrease.

In Solidarity, From Egypt to Wisconsin to California! Democracy NEEDS Education!

G.T. Press

Guerrilla Think