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SDSU protests against budget cuts

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Photo by 'San Diego Shooter' via Flickr

Photo by 'San Diego Shooter' via Flickr

San Diego State University students, faculty, and staff came together for a campus-wide budget rally last week in front of Hepner Hall to protest state budgets cuts.  The slogan, “Stand Together for SDSU,” was displayed across banners.  Students signed banner as a symbol of solidarity of the SDSU community to send into the office of the governor and legislature.

Students are concerned with the accessibility of higher education and the quality.  University Senate Chair Edith Benkov noted CSU universities rejected more than 40,000 qualified students as a result of decreased funding.
With the extra fees, many students cannot afford college without financial aid or a job.  Anthropology Senior Ann KImho told The Daily Aztec, “It’s impossible to go to college without working these days.”

To a typical college student the idea of fewer classes and more days off may sound appealing.  However, this comes at a price.  The Instructional Related Activities fee increase is $160 and total undergraduate registration fees this year is $2451.  Students are now paying 30 percent more fees for less hours of education.

About 700 staff members will not return to SDSU due to recent budget cuts.  This has resulted in fewer and larger classes.  The CSU Board of Trustees has decided to implement mandatory faculty furlough days in order to save money.  All professors and teaching staff will suffer a 9.23 percent salary loss from taking off a required nine days this upcoming year.

Furlough days are mandatory but it does not specify which days they must be taken.  CSU faculty and staff have come together to try to collaborate which days they intend to take off.  While some professors chose to go on furlough for days they do not lecture, there may be other professors who will choose to go on furlough for scheduled class days.  This will result in significantly less instructional hours for students.

There are reasons why professors choose to take instructional days off, even though it may hurt the quality of education for the students.  Dr. Tim Wulfemeyer, Journalism and media studies professor at SDSU, has decided to take four instructional days and five non-instructional days off.

“I think it would be too damaging to the instruction/learning aspect of my courses to take nine instructional days off during the semester,” Wulfmeyer told The Daily Aztec.  “On the other hand, by not taking any instructional days off, it tends to show taxpayers and legislators that professors are willing to do the same work for 10 percent less salary.”  For him, this decision is strategic—accommodating students while making a statement to CSU officials at the same time.

Effects of state budget cuts could have been minimized by CSU officials other than putting university faculty on furlough.  For example, a few offices could have been closed instead to save money while avoiding an educational disruption that is not only affecting university faculty but all the students in the CSU system.

Associated Students President Tyler Boden hopes the rally encourages others to have their voices heard.

“I hope that it gets more people engaged in the conversations about how to fix the problem that we have in front of us,” Boden told The Daily Aztec. “I don’t know if anybody really has the answer, but if we all just have conversations together, then we can reach a better answer than what we have now.”

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