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Friday, June 2, 2023

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A student overlooks the rally from Hepner Hall.

Aztecs Rally Against Budget Cuts

Crowd gathers at Hepner Hall for noontime event.
By Lorena Nava Ruggero

On the first day of fall classes at San Diego State University, more than a thousand people lined Campanile Walkway in front of Hepner Hall to send a message to the California legislature: Save the CSU.

Speaking against Budget Cuts

The event, organized by a cross-section of SDSU constituencies, including staff, faculty and students, protested the wide-reaching cuts to the California State University system and SDSU.

The CSU will see at $564 million cut this year, with SDSU's budget being reduced by $35 million.

Speakers included:

  • Gene Lamke, hospitality and tourism management professor
  • Stephen L. Weber, SDSU president
  • Tyler Boden, Associated Students president
  • Jose Preciado, University Senate Staff Committee chair
  • Edith Benkov, University Senate chair and European Studies chair
  • Mark Wheeler, California Faculty Association president and philosophy professor
  • Aztec parents Jill and Howard Singer

Each speaker galvanized the audience with how SDSU is suffering in light of furloughs and student fee increases.

Wide-reaching effects

“We’ve turned away hundreds of eligible students because we don’t have the resources to support them and, for you students, we’ve got fewer classes,” said Gene Lamke, event emcee and professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

“Faculty and staff, hundreds of our colleagues are not here anymore; they’ve either been laid off or their contracts have not been renewed. But the good news is you’re taking a 10 percent salary cut; the bad news is students get less.

“It’s going to be a challenging year for all of us. If we really want to do something, we need to stand together for quality higher education and greater access to higher education because that’s the only way we can save California!”

Taking action

The California Faculty Association hosted a “Vent Tent” that allowed attendees to videotape a message to legislators in Sacramento, and banners were available for people to sign. One of the banners will go directly to the Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar and the legislature, with the other one residing on campus as a reminder of the work ahead.

“We are at a critical crossroads in the history of San Diego State,” said President Weber. “The obstacles that confront us are perhaps the most challenging we have ever faced.”

To see more photos from the SDSU Budget Rally, visit the photo album.

To e-mail state legislators and join SDSU advocacy efforts, please click here to visit the SDSU e-advocacy website.