Students For Quality Education plans Capitol protest over tuition hike


Vincent Moleski - The State Hornet

Yahaira Victorino, a biochemistry major, hands out flyers inviting students to join a protest arranged by the Students for Quality Education at the capitol on April 4. The organization will be protesting the gap in state funding for the CSU and the $228 tuition increase proposed by the CSU.

Vincent Moleski

CSU Students For Quality Education, a statewide organization of California State University students, set up a table in the library quad on Thursday to recruit students for a protest at the State Capitol on April 4 in response to a potential state funding gap for the CSU system, which may lead to a tuition hike later this year.

Sacramento State student Jorge Quintana, one of SQE’s leaders, said that the protest is in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s funding proposal for the CSU and the proposed tuition increase for the 2018-19 academic year.

On Jan. 10, Brown proposed a budget increase which was $170.9 million short of the increase in state funding asked for by the CSU Board of Trustees. The board proposed a tuition increase of $228 for the fall 2018 semester to make up for this shortfall.

Quintana, who stood behind a table covered in candy and flyers, said that he hopes to see at least 100 students at the protest, which is planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Quintana said that he wants to invite community members, set up at tables, chant and spread information, while also paying homage to the civil rights icon.

“We hope that Jerry Brown hears us,” Quintana said. “We hope that the legislature is reminded that, look, students matter.”

SQE has been bringing banners to the quad every Tuesday that provide a countdown to when the legislature has to approve Brown’s budget. Quintana said that next Tuesday will show that there are 85 days remaining until the budget has to be finalized.

Maya Coleman, a philosophy major, said that she will be attending the protest in order to bring awareness to the tuition increase.

“I have to rely on financial aid, and I know it’s not a promise that financial aid is going to go up when this [tuition] goes up,” Coleman said. “I think it’s important to bring attention to it, to say, ‘Hey, we’re over here and we can’t afford for this to happen every semester, every year.’ ”

Quintana said the pay raises for CSU executives, including Sac State President Robert Nelsen, coming at the same time as the tuition hike made him feel like the concerns of the student body were being ignored — but added that Nelsen could help empower students who are not happy with the tuition increase.

“President Nelsen says he’s willing to do whatever he can,” Quintana said. “We need him to sanction April 4 so professors don’t have to hold classes. We need to make that a campus day event.”

Quintana said that on March 6, he and other SQE members will be marching to the president’s office to set up a meeting with Nelsen to ask for professors to allow their students to miss class on April 4 for the protest and to ask for assistance from University Transportation and Parking Services in transporting students to the Capitol.

Coleman said that she hopes the CSU will offer more satisfying answers in lieu of tuition increases, consider lowering tuition costs, or stop raising tuition in response to the protest, and as a long-term goal she said she would like to see more input from students in making tuition decisions.

“I want a system where anyone that checks all the boxes, anyone that has the grades has the ability can afford to attend the university without worrying about not eating, without worrying about couchsurfing,” Quintana said. “I want to see a CSU system where we’re not afraid of a tuition increase every single year. … We need to be fully funded. That’s what I want to see.”