Monday, May 14, 2012

Address to the Board of Trustees

It feels so good to have solid food again! Don't everyone jump up to cook for me now, there is plenty of time and room in my stomach for everyone to feed me lol Just kidding but seriously despite the minor discomfort from my stomach getting used to solids again, its great to have my energy up! I'm really looking forward to being able to work out again. It's a long slow process in which I systematically introduce foods back into my diet.
Here it is, the address that I gave on Wednesday to the Board of Trustees. Since then, I have thanked President Karnig and spoke to Trustee Lou Monville today at the welcome reception for the new campus president at CSUSB. Hope you enjoy it...

Good morning, my name is Natalie Dorado. I am an Economics Major at Cal State San Bernardino. I am an organizer for Students for Quality Education and am one of the students who have been on hunger strike for 8 days now. We are tired but our spirits are strong. This hunger strike is one of the first of its kind in history getting international attention.  We have been fueled to step up our work even more around our work surrounding our four demands to bring a life of dignity for students.
1.       Five year moratorium on fee increases
2.       The elimination of campus presidents car and housing allowances
3.       Reverting admin salaries to 1999 levels
4.       The extension of free speech zones to include the entire campus
We put forth these demands because of the very concerning state that the CSU is in due to the failed leadership of the system.
What is even more concerning as a student is the chancellor’s tactics when talking and meeting with students, he kept telling students that he didn’t know why students weren’t angry that faculty received raises.
The Chancellor was also divisive as a leader by telling students that he feels the primary concern on the CSU campuses is to keep campus presidents happy, not students, not faculty , not staff or even the goal of increasing graduation rates. Less and less students are able to graduate on time system wide due to course load caps and unavailability of classes.
His public admission of this is evidence of the things that we have come to play on a system that was intended to be the people’s university, not a place for profit to be gained. The CSU is the people’s university where as a people we can dream, as a people we can hope and grow strong in knowledge so that we can give back to society and foster these dreams in future generations.
Our faculty is the embodiment of these dreams and desires. Many CSU faculties are graduates of this very system. Faculties are in a fight for a life of dignity in a system that they give their lives to. They give their passion and strength to students every week, after week.
Our campus communities feel a fire now building with the passion of the collective injustices done to us by this governing board. We feel the fire and the urgentness of this fight to defend our system from attacks from our state and board of trustee mismanagement. We feel that our system has been taken from us, has been corrupted, perverted and twisted into something that demoralizes students and our communities.
We are here to tell you that we refuse to be demoralized by your failed leadership. And your failure to keep your promise Chancellor Reed for a quality system in which we can all participate.
We are fighting for our lives. We are fighting for our future and we are fighting for justice. We will continue to fight to reclaim what is ours. We will continue to stand in solidarity with faculty, campus employees and campus presidents hand and hand, now harder than ever. Like JFK said “If not us than who? If not now than when? “
We write history now. Now is your chance to be part of our movement to make this state even greater. Please step up to the challenge and serve the people who the system belongs to. Thank you and Thank you again to President Karnig.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Board of Trustees Address

May 9th was the Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach. My name had been submitted for the public comment portion of the meeting and I was ready to speak! It was day 8 of the hunger strike and I was getting pretty tired.

Up to that point, I had been seriously considering what is was that I was going to say to the Board of Trustees. After all, it isn't every day that a lady from CSUSB gets the opportunity to speak to the all mighty BOT. I put all of the little energy that I had into carefully crafting a quick 2 min speech that I felt would express my concerns.

The time came and I heard my name called in the que of speakers. I saw the list with my own two eyes. Yup, my name was on there twice. I had submitted my own name with the intention of speaking not knowing others had submitted by name in the event I had the strength to speak. This meant that I could defer my second slot to speak to a different hunger striker. My name was called and I stepped up to the plate. "My name us Natalie Dorado and I am on the list of speakers twice. I will defer my second chance to speak to David Inga and I will speak after him."

Boom! There goes David and hit them with the truth gun. He ask the BOT who can think for themselves to do so and stand up for what they believe in calling on specific BOT members who have voted against student fee increases in the past. Bam! It was a success.

Now it is my turn to speak. My hands began to shake as I began to address the board. Then my mic gets cut. Chair Lindshield speaks to say that I do not get a turn to speak since I already deferred one of my turns! I insist, "My name was on the list to speak twice and I did not get the chance to speak." Mic still off...

Chair Lindshield insists that I do not get to address the board and begins to call the next speakers. But I do not leave the mic. I will not leave until I get my chance to speak. I insist, "If you please just give me a moment of your time..."

The people seated in the public portion of the board meeting begin to chant "Let her speak, Let her speak!" and tensions begin to rise in the board room. I do not leave the mic.  I again insist, "Please just give me one moment..."

It begins to get awkward and tense in the room.  I remain standing at the mic as Chair Lindshield tells me I can not speak. The security guard tells me, "You need to sit down now", but I do not go. I will not leave until I get my chance to speak, I have done nothing wrong. Were they really that afraid to hear what I had to say?

Then I hear some people saying, "You need to speak up!" I see my fellow SQE members and members of the public telling CSUSB President Karnig that he needs to speak up. I quietly hear him say, "She can speak".

And then it happens! President Karnig reached forward despite some internal struggle that was clear on his face and turned on his mic and said loud and clear, "She can speak. Her name was on the list twice. Let her speak."

Chancellor Reed leaned towards Chair Lindshield and told him to cut President Karnig's mic. Lindshield reached forward and turns on my mic. And I began to speak...

Hunger Strike Ends!

Today is the day we have officially announced the end of the hunger strike!

We feel that we have been successful on many levels:
a) We have met with Chancellor Reed and will meet again with him with in the next two weeks. There was much video of Chancellor Reed taken where he publicly admits that his number one concern on CSU campuses is the happiness of the campus presidents. Not students, faculty, staff or even improving graduation rates. Chancellor Reed became upset and began yelling at students when we kept asking him about admin raises. He was also divisive by telling students that he didn't know why students were not upset that faculty received raises (see post below!). Video to follow.

The Chancellor also revealed information that will help students to expose information about the CSU auxiliary funds which will help us learn where "private" funding going and where it is actually supposed to be going to. This really puts the ball in our court, we just have to play it!

 b) The Board of Trustees voted on a salary freeze for campus presidents!
Read about it here ------>

c) We relieved media attention on a international scope! There was also a special investigation done my CBS Channel 2 news about the corrupt spending practices done by the CSU chancellor's office! Watch here ----> Investigation Reveals Questionable Spending By CSU Chancellor’s Office « CBS Los Angeles 

d) California State Senator Ted Lieu has issued a request for Chancellor Reed to resign in light of the information in the CBS special report!

e) Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has requested to meet with students about the hunger strike and our goals next week!

How exciting is that! Our work has not been in vain! We stand strong!

Press Release:

Students End Hunger Strike on Day 12  
Tired and weak, they break their fast celebrating Senator Leiu’s call for Reed’s Resignation
For the past several years, students from across the state have participated in many different types of protests against fee increases and executive compensations. Many have even attended every single Board meeting to personally testify and share their struggles to the Board of Trustees. Each time, their stories and struggles were acknowledged with silence and at times discourteous responses.  It is due to their callous and distasteful leadership, 12 CSU students launched a hunger strike on May 2, 2012. The 12 students started the hunger strike at their respective campuses: CSU Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, Sacramento, and San Bernardino.   One of the hunger strikers explained, “Chancellor Reed and the Board of Trustees are using the budget crisis as a reason to radically restructure CSU into a more corporate, privatized university system.”

Despite protests, legislative criticism, and 12 students fasting, the CSU Board of Trustees continued with their agenda to again discuss executive pay increase at their meeting on May 8 and 9.  Students decided to protest at Chancellor Reed’s house; who was hosting Trustees and Campus presidents for a dinner party.  Trustee Glazer came out to talk with students.  He stated how proud he was that, “today, we voted to freeze salary increases for campus presidents.” What he forgot to mention was that the new amendment will allow presidents to receive a higher pay than their predecessors through auxiliaries; these groups range from the student bookstore to the student paper to privately funded foundations.  More importantly, the approximately 90 such groups scattered across the state will not be limited in the amount they give to new presidents. According to an article in the SFGate, “three CSU presidents and Chancellor Reed receive extra pay from foundations. Reed's salary is $451,500, including $30,000 from the CSU Foundation.”

At the Board meeting on Wednesday, Donnie Bessom, a hunger striker addressed the Trustees, "Last night I looked through the window of Chancellor Reed's house and I saw a young woman serving all the trustees and presidents their food. I wondered if she heard about Raiza Arias, age 18, who was hospitalized this week because she wanted to risk her health and fight against the privatization of the CSU.” Although Raiza is better now, students felt the medical need to also end the hunger strike.  As of midnight this morning, the CSU hunger strike officially ended. While, none of their demands were met and Chair Linschied never met with students, they feel this phase of their campaign was a victory.  As a result of student outcries and the CBS investigative report, Senator Ted Lieu wrote a letter to Chancellor Reed, “You publicly stated that the taxpayer money was “absolutely” well spent. If the allegations are true and you continue to maintain your position that taxpayer funds should be spent in this manner, then you need to resign. At a time when you are making drastic cuts and raising tuition fees on students, spending taxpayer money to subsidize your lifestyle and those of already well-paid CSU presidents is shameful.”

SQE hoped their action brought a voice to the 40,000 students who have been turned away from the CSU due to lack of priorities and mismanagement of funds. “We are committed and ready to continue exposing the corruption that exists under Reed’s leadership. If we don’t stand up and do something about it, the door to a public CSU can be closed forever” affirmed Natalie Dorado, a hunger striker from CSU San Bernardino. SQE has gained tons of support from other students, faculty, staff, and parents of future college students and will be reaching out to State Legislators to work on putting their criticisms of Chancellor Reed’s leadership into concrete changes within the CSU structure.


Students for Quality Education (SQE) is a statewide student group on 18 CSU campuses founded by students in 2007.  SQE is committed to build a statewide student movement to address the educational injustices and attacks on students, faculty and staff in the California State University system.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today is Day 9 of the hunger strike. I apologize as we didn't have internet at the church in Long Beach that we all stayed at so I could not update anything. The first three days of the hunger strike I had a nasty cold and did not have the strength to write a blog to keep folks updated about the progress. Since I am feeling better today and am finally back in Berdookie, I will be updating this blog and filling it in about the first few days of the hunger strike.

Its been a crazy journey so far but we are strong! Every step has been more outrageous than the last and I can't wait to let you know how its been. Thank you for reading... if you are out there :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hunger Strike Press Bio

Hello! Here is my press bio :) 

Don't go too hard! I wrote it late night lol:

I am Natalie, I am finishing up my second year at CSUSB. I transferred to CSUSB from a community college after attending a public high school and public elementary. One could say that I am a product of the public education system, as such; I understand the need to protect and actively defend public education. All my life, the value of being able to provide for myself and for my family through hard work and effort was instilled with in me. Getting a college degree and one day earning my Phd is the avenue that I have chosen to make my family proud and to give back to the community. During my time at CSUSB, I became involved with Students for Quality Education after hearing a lecture from a professor about the current crisis in the CSU system. I remember it very clearly the passion and empowerment that learning that information that day gave me but I also remember the disappointment and frustration that I felt when I learned of our current administration and our elected official’s policies. I realized many students are ignorant of these issues due to the struggle of our daily lives but it is though that ignorance and passive complacency that we are being taken advantage of. Students have increasingly become a commodity. After learning this, I began the long journey toward discovering my political voice in education through the organization of petitions, teach-in, rallies, and marches. I do not stand alone in this; I stand with students statewide and nation wide in the quest for a quality and affordable education.  Time and time again, we have put all our heart and energy into each of these actions and time and time again we see our voices go unheard. Enough is enough. I have had enough of seeing those in my generation become demoralized by the suppression of our voices and I refuse to comply any longer. This is why I have chosen to follow in the great Gandhi’s footsteps and hunger strike with my fellow warriors for education. This is an extreme act, but it is an extremely nonviolent way to fight the injustice our generation is being faced with. 

Friday, April 27, 2012


   It is official! Today is the 31st day since an SQE rep issued a request to meet with BOT representatives to discuss the four suggestions that we have developed to help deal with the current issues that reside in the CSU system. Today CSU students have announced that 13 students will be launching a hunger strike May 2nd at 6 CSU campuses.

 Here is the official press release:

 Press Release April 27, 2012 Contact: Noor Qwfan, Students for Quality Education (661) 477-2931; noorqwfan@gmail Mildred Garcia, Students for Quality Education CSU Students Poised to Launch Hunger Strike Student Debt Tops $1 Trillion Leaving Students Hungry for Change Long Beach, CA – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials say student debt is rising for several reasons, including tuition increases—which many colleges say are needed to offset big cuts in state funding—have many students taking out bigger loans to pay for their public education. Along with threats of denying access to 16,000 students by freezing enrollment, more fee increases in Fall 2012, loss of faculty and staff who provide essential teaching and services to students, Chancellor Charles Reed and Chair Robert Linschied continue to approve salary increases to campus presidents who will be doing the same job as they did at another CSU campus. On March 20th, Students for Quality Education (SQE) presented a set of solutions to Chancellor Reed and Chair Lisncheid. They also requested to meet with them both to discuss their concerns and solutions. Hours before their press call the morning of April 27th, SQE submitted an Open Letter to Chancellor Reed and Chair Lisnchied “as a formal request and second attempt to schedule a meeting.” On the press call, students discussed the background of SQE's fight, and the demands that students have put together. Donnie Besson, a graduate student at CSU Long Beach began the press call stating, “CSU students have fought back against budgets cuts to education and we've tried just about everything you can think to prevent the dismantling of our public university system. We've lobbied our state legislators, we've mobilized thousands to our state capital, and we've presented new strategies to our Board of Trustees so that we can change the course and try efficient alternatives.” Chair Robert Linscheid’s response dated April 17th, failed to genuinely address students’ concerns and request to meet. Instead, he wrote, “you are welcomed to submit them [suggestions] to your elected student leaders.” It is due to their discourteous responses and callous leadership, SQE announced this morning that 12 CSU students from 6 CSU campuses will launch a hunger strike starting May 2, 2012. Yeimi Lopez from Sacramento State University declared, “Our classes have been cut and our programs slashed. We are thus taking the torch and are escalating our direct actions. We are taking a stand as students of California, for our sisters and brothers at the community colleges and K through 12.” SQE is a statewide student group on 18 CSU campuses and is committed to addressing the educational injustices and inequities students are facing in the California State University system. For more information about Students for Quality Education and the hunger strike please visit our website at

   And yes. I am one of those hunger strikers. I am ready to do this! I will start blogging my experiences starting today and will continue to update you over time. I started a twitter to keep you all updated.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I might be the worst lab partner ever...

Dear Fellow Econ Student Who Sat Next to Me During Lab Today,

            I didn’t mean to ruin your day I swear! Who knew that you offering me a butterscotch would strike up such a conversation? Who was to know that the question “Why would students strike?” would have such a long answer? But of course, you just met me so why would you think you were slowly pulling the trigger that holds my tongue back…
            As you said “It’s hard to ruin today, I just got my financial aid!” Always great news to any student of course, now we can finally eat something other than ramen noodles and 98 cent store knock off mac and cheese and finally pay that past due electricity bill. Of course it’s upsetting information, especially if you have never heard it before. I’m so sorry to be the bearer of bad news on this holy day and make you think about how fucked up it is for the rest of class, but in all fairness you persisted to know more about it.
            So what did I tell you that got you all worked up my new econ friend? Information about our quest for quality education. Which just so happened to be a quest you were unaware of. We rally, protest, petition, walk out, sit in, lobby, letter, present, flyer, march, document, demonstrate and fight non violently for our humyn right to a quality, affordable public education.  I just told you some basic info about what we students who stand for quality education do; educate students about the fee increases, budget cuts and of course, the REAL reasons our fees and tuition keep going up.
            “Oh yeah and what is that now?” you asked like any self-respecting student would. BIG MISTAKE! You just pulled the trigger on my mouth (again so very sorry for ruining your day)! I was only able to start off with the explanation of a two part problem: state funding decreasing and mismanagement of the funds that we actually do get.

            Of course we are in the “Great Recession” and there has to be cuts some where but where do the State’s priorities lie if higher public education is the first thing on the chopping block. Obviously, if we have reduced revenue to the state there needs to be an alternate source of revenue to public education, either through the reallocation of preexisting funding or by establishing new funding. What happened to all the funds Prop 37 (CA State Lottery Act passed in 1984) that was supposed to provide. 34 percent of it’s funding to go to higher education but now also represents a declining fund to higher education with only 1 percent going to the California State University system in 2005 to 2006. Or what about Professor Gary Rhoades of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Public Education’s preposition that the administrators, faculty and students actually work together to get grants from the state (really paraphrased!) which he discussed when he visited CSUSB to support the campus faculty. (See full one of his full lectures about it here)

            Then we got to talking about how things are being mismanaged by the Board of Trustees (BOT)…this seemed to make you the most upset. I told you that its not just that we are getting less money to spend but the little funding that we do get is being mismanaged with increasing allocation to administration compensation. You weren’t really surprised to know about the percentage that our student fees have gone up in the CSU system since Chancellor Reed came in during 1998. This is because you are no dummy and have seen things go up and up and up and that financial aid we are all so happy about isn’t going at all as far as it used to last quarter (financial aid does not adjust for fee or tuition increases). In the 13 years that Reed has been appointed, our fees have gone up 263 percent (That is just the numbers until 2011; a student fee increase has been passed by the BOT to increase another 9 percent in the Fall 2012!!!).
             But what did surprise you was the percent of funding that administration compensation has increased… 71 percent increase! This means that $6 million of our student money went to being spent on raises for 550 administrators.  Administrators have gone from making $1,890 a week to making $6,422 a week; this doesn’t reflect the $50,000 to $60,000 or provided housing that executives get for living expenses ( That number also doesn’t reflect the entertainment expenses and car allowances that the executives receive. Executive compensation has come under much criticism because of this and yet they say they don’t have enough money to pay our faculty to keep the 10,000 courses we have lost state wide from 2008 to 2010 alone.
            If the argument of ridiculously high executive compensation being awarded during this “Great Recession” wasn’t the thing that upset you may be it was the fact that the BOT only spent 35 percent of its operating expenses toward “directly supporting the primary mission of the university, which is instruction” in the 2009 -2010 school year, even through it has $2 billion is reserves. Faculty salaries have only increased 27 percent while inflation has gone up 43 percent, which basically means that not only are they getting paid poorly (In the 13 years Reed has been in office, faculty has gone from making $1,223 to $1,499. Feel free to compare that to the administration’s weekly salary above…) but the value of a dollar is going lower and lower so the little money they make goes about half as far as it used to.

            That was about when the professor came in and you said that I had ruined your day and depressed you. You also went on to say you were totally joking about me ruining your day so that made me happy. Man, I felt really bad at first! And who knows, tomorrow is a new day and I just be able to really ruin your day when I finish telling you some more about our student issues at the CSU level.

            Before we all shut down the computers and left the class, you said that you were really happy to know that there were people who are fighting for all of us students and that you were happy to know that you had your eyes open to these issues which can’t be ignored. Rest easy econ butterscotch person…we have your back…