Students stage mock funeral to protest tuition increases at CA colleges

May 3, 2016 10:19 AM by News Staff

Chico State students held a "die -in" on campus Monday as part of a statewide protest to fight the tuition increases at California public colleges.

California State University students are calling today a day of action the 'die-in' protest is part of a larger student movement for free higher education.

"We're asking volunteers to lay on the ground and pretend you're dead," Marcos Zepeda, a student at Chico State and one of the organizers of the die-in said.

It’s not a morbid joke. It’s a student movement called a 'die-in', organized by Chico branch of Students for Quality Education.

“By dying, we are representing the death of the master plan and the death of quality higher education," Zepeda said.

The California Master Plan started in the 60s back when UCs, CSUs and community colleges were free. Then Proposition 13 passed in the 70s, which froze homeowners' property tax.

“That lack of funding started created the tuitions increases," Zepeda said.

Thanks to student protest, there was a 4 year freeze on tuition increases, but that’s about to end.

Denise Fernandez is a SQE member from Sacramento State.

"The sustainability plan that the board of trustees has proposed is going to affect all 23 campuses,” she said. “It’s important to realize that as students under the CSU system, we're all connected."

That sustainability plan will grow tuition each year according to expected inflation, but students said they're not getting their money's worth

"The quality of our education has gone down while the price has gone up,” Zepeda said.

Zepeda went on to say that this is evidenced in the shrinking class sizes, lack of diversity in course selection and educators, as well as a shortage of courses offered.

For many this means an extra semester or two of classes, which can cost thousands of dollars.

He says it's unclear whether the higher-ups at Chico State support their efforts.

"Tuition shouldn't be a death sentence,” students chanted at the die-in.

Zepeda encourages fellow students to fight for what they deserve.

"Without a doubt, SQE will continue fighting for free higher education," he said.

The die in wrapped up in front of Kendall Hall, the administration building. SQE students said this will not be the last time they take a stand against the plan to continually hike tuition at California colleges.


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