SFExaminer- A group of students at San Francisco State University have decided to forgo food beginning Monday until administrators set aside $8 million in funding for the fiscally embattled College of Ethnic Studies.
The four students plan to camp inside tents at the grassy center of campus until SFSU President Leslie Wong or Provost Sue Rosser direct funding for Ethnic Studies to “not only sustain itself but thrive,” said Sofia Cardenas, a spokesperson for the students.
The College of Ethnic Studies learned in February that reserve funds from Academic Affairs used to close the college’s $200,000 to $250,000 annual budget deficit were depleted. According to Rosser, all of the colleges at SFSU have been underfunded since the recession in 2009.
That news prompted an outcry from faculty and students, who said losing that amount of money next year could have forced the college to suspend its graduate programs, eliminate 40 percent of faculty and cut half of the courses offered.
On Monday, four students decided to increase the pressure on the administration to secure additional money for the college. They were supported by a crowd of about 100 as they marched around campus announcing the hunger strike and protesting possible tuition hikes across the California State University system, which the Board of Trustees is considering for the first time in almost five years.
This is going to sound crass, but I truly believe there is only one way to handle this. We need to let the four students that are going to abstain from food just to get their Ethnic Studies program more funding die a horrible, horrible death from malnutrition. I know, I know, I'm not a fan of civilian casualties either, but these college kids need to be taught how to bargain. A handful of outspoken Ethnic Studies majors kick the bucket out of principle and there's no one left to complain about how much money the Ethnic Studies program is getting. That seems like a two birds, one stone situation for the University. I know this same ploy worked in Missouri, but that's only because the kid had the backing of the football team. Last time I checked, SFSU isn't in the SEC and the re-allotment of finances isn't a goddamn race war, so maybe it's time for these kids to have a turkey sandwich and understand that causing themselves bodily harm isn't a real threat to an institution. If they don't realize that then let them croak, because I'm all for some collateral damage if stops hunger strikes from going mainstream. I know it's a new generation, but in my day we called going hungry for a purpose "anorexia" and we judged everyone that did it harshly. We certainly didn't give in to their demands because they were too stupid to eat their lunch.