Long Beach State Students Among Hunger Strikers

A dozen Cal State students have launched a one-week fast in protest of rising college tuition.

At least one Long Beach State student is among a dozen from six Cal State campuses who are on a hunger strike to press their demands for tuition cuts. The action began Wednesday and is intended to end next Wednesday, when the CSU Board of Trustees meets at the Long Beach campus.

There, the hunger strikers hope to present their demands, The San Fernando Valley Sun reported. The group heading the effort is Students for Quality Education, an organization at Cal State schools. The 12 students attend Cal State Long Beach, Fullerton, Dominguez Hills, Sacramento, San Bernardino and four are from Cal State Northridge, according to the Sun.

The students decided on a hunger strike because they said CSU Chancellor Charles E. Reed (who owns a Belmont Shore home) and Board of Trustees Chairman A. Robert Linscheid didn't adequately respond to their demands, according to the Sun.

They're hoping the hunger strike will get their attention. ``We felt that we had exhausted the (impact) of marches and rallies. We have no other choice than to escalate our actions," Edgar Ramos, 22, a CSUN Art major, told the Sun.

The students' demands include a five-year moratorium on student fees, the elimination of all 23 campus presidents' housing and car allowances, no more cuts to classes and student services, and a designated free speech area in each campus. Ramos told the Sun the hunger strikers have been preparing for the fast in recent weeks, reducing their food intake. Until the strike ends, they plan to consume only juices and water.

A statewide vote by California Faculty Association members soundly authorized a two-day rolling strike at all 23 CSU campuses should contract talks fail to reach agreement. The soonest that strike would likely happen has been estimated to be the fall.

--with City News Service reporting.



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