SFSU hunger strikers win funding for College of Ethnic Studies

MAY 2016—The student hunger strike at San Francisco State has ended with an agreement between the students and SFSU campus President Leslie Wong.

In the agreement, Wong commits to preserve the College of Ethnic Studies, provide $482,000 in more funding for its work, and hold regular meetings with student advocates, among many other measures.

The hunger strike began because of threatened cuts against the College.

There is intense debate on campus over its actual financial condition. Campus management says the campus has a “structural deficit” that requires cuts to spending on academic programs.

Others including forensic accounting professor Howard Bunsis say the campus actually has a “structural surplus,” and still others question why, if cuts are needed, that academic programs rather than other areas of spending are under the knife.

The agreement includes a promise of greater budget transparency, which presumably could clarify the status of the campus.

Students at SFSU became increasingly active over the past academic year, taking on proposed fee hikes and showing support for faculty pay raises as well as speaking in defense of academic programs.

San Francisco CFA Chapter President Sheila R. Tully notes,

“The mobilization of SFSU students is part of a national trend of increasing student activism. They realize that while the 1% are doing quite well, the 99% face stagnant wages and precarious employment. This generation of students looks to the future and that is why they are willing to stand up, speak up and struggle for a more just world.”

See photos and video in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper