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…