CARSON — Hundreds of Cal State University faculty members gathered at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, Thursday, to protest university budget cuts, which have resulted in skipped pay raises for teachers and tuition hikes for students.
The one-day strike, which was duplicated up north at Cal State East Bay, was set up to protest an ongoing salary dispute between faculty members and the CSU Board of Trustees. Faculty members claim that Reed is denying salary increases that were promised in 2007.
“There were pay raises promised to us that we did not get,” said Doris Ressl, a dance instructor at CSUDH. “We took furlough days and we’ve been donating our time to the university, and it’s time to stop.”
CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed is refusing to give faculty members pay increases that were promised for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, claiming that system cannot afford the raises due state budget cuts. Both the CSU and UC systems have lost $650 million each, with that number potentially increasing. Ressl had a couple words for Chancellor Reed.
“Please retire,” Ressl said.
The California Faculty Association hosted the demonstration, which was its first strike since the association was formed in 1983. The faculty walkout was aso the first in the history of the Cal State system. The CFA represents about 23,000 CSU professors, lecturers and librarians, among others.
Some students picked up signs and joined the faculty in the strike. The protest came just one day after students and police clashed outside the CSU headquarters in Long Beach, when students protested the approval of a 9 percent tuition hike that will take effect next fall. One student was
“The fact that the faculty aren’t getting what they were promised means that learning conditions are also affected by that greatly,” said Gail Pansacola, student at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Protestors began marching as early and 7 a.m. and held a rally at noon, which included a Louisiana-style marching band. Strikers attempted to block any cars trying to drive onto campus, and were often successful. There was a police presence as well, but the scene remained peaceful.
Ressl added that although the strike was set up mainly for the faculty, the students were her biggest concern.
“Look at what the student needs are … ’cause I’m here for the students,” Ressl said. “We need to get, have better facilities, less tuition, not have classes cut. You don’t raise tuition and then cut classes on the students.”