A group of San Francisco State University students 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 were set to meet in Malcolm X Plaza at noon Monday before marching around the campus and to the Administration Building, calling for SFSU President Leslie Wong and Provost Sue Rosser to direct funding for Ethnic Studies to “not only sustain itself but thrive,” said Sofia Cardenas, a spokesperson for the students.
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SFSU’s College of Ethnic Studies learned in February that reserve funds from Academic Affairs set aside to pay for extra classes were depleted. That news prompted an outcry by faculty and students, who said losing that amount of money next year could have forced the college to suspend its graduate programs and eliminate lectures.
The university, however, has since announced it will give the college $200,000 to allow the university and ethnic studies faculty, students and staff more time to plan for upcoming years.
But college faculty have countered that financial boost won’t cover all of its costs.
It’s unclear whether the students will lodge on campus like the five activists who have engaged in a hunger strike in front of Mission Police Station for 12 days.
But Cardenas, the student spokesperson, said one of the four SFSU students is connected to the protesters demanding Police Chief Greg Suhr lose his job or resign after four fatal police shootings have drawn scrutiny since 2014.
The students are calling themselves the Third World Liberation Front 2016 in an apparent homage to the SFSU and other college students whose demonstrations in 1968 led to the establishment of the nation’s first Ethnic Studies college at SFSU.
The group has 10 demands, including additional funding, hiring a graduate advisor and expanding the college’s resource center, Cardenas said.
The four students, who ate their last meal Sunday night, will be on hunger strike until the monetary demand is met, Cardenas said.