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SFSU students begin hunger strike over funding for Ethnic Studies

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Students gather in the quad of San Francisco State University during the beginning of a hunger strike calling for $8 million funding for the Ethnic Studies department Monday, May 2, 2016. (Michael Barba/S.F. Examiner)
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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.

SEE RELATED STORY: SFSU students won’t eat until Ethnic Studies demands are met

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.

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  • Paul Bearer

    SF resembles a third world country.

  • goodmaab

    Masharouf Center, costs and the SFSU-Masterplan should be value engineered to ensure ethnic studies remain. Cut the costs of the masterplanning efforts and the salaried positions that effect the SFSU budget yearly. Don’t follow the Corrigan blue-print, and demand accountability for the financial purchases of the SFSU-Foundation now U.Corp.

  • Zippster

    Where are the Aztec dancers and Mexican flags?

  • BuckOfama

    This is great. Let them continue their strike as long as they want to. 6 months would be good.

  • R94110

    Or better, may a totally incoherent and unintelligible comment!

  • goodmaab

    If u know anything about the history of SFSU’s expenditures under Richard corrigan and the effects of enlargement of sfsu-CSU u would understand. Go look at the sfsu xpress older articles in the journalism department or Google corrigans viewpoint and the prior land grab by the sfsu foundation now U.Corp.

  • James

    If a third world country had one of the highest costs of the living in world, sure.

  • Paul Bearer

    Well, you are either rich of poor in SF. Just like El Salvador.

  • john doe

    Oh. A hunger strike. How original.

  • R94110

    Nobody cares if students go on strike or starve themselves to death. They have no leverage – politics 101

  • R94110

    Most people in SF are neither

  • R94110

    It’s one of those special SF hunger strikes where they get to have smoothies and soup

  • Summerwarmth

    and why do they deserve free money? Who do they help beyond themselves? Why are they not viable if they are so valuable? Other departments have to get grants and actually manage their department budgets not get money falling out of the skies.

    In the real world you cannot just throw a tantrum and get what you want but it appears the SFSU is still wearing diapers and making demands. Do the ethnic studies include Western European studies and are they include of everyone or just the select few precious?

  • Summerwarmth

    I would like to add a note after reviewing the picture that there are more than a few of the group that a good fast would not hurt in the least and may go quite a ways to helping them get out of obesity levels into just overweight.

    Suggestion: Don’t be a fat tub of lard and made demands and threaten to go on a hunger strike as people may think that is the best thing for you.

  • goodmaab

    they vote, they should care and will develop leverage over time… I sent info. prior though many ignored it… to their own peril currently… But this is due in part to the constant flow of students 3-4 years and out… If one group does not continue to investigate and battle, they all lose out in the end….

  • John Locke

    Starve.

  • John Locke

    Only if you say the poor have cell phones, cars and satellite TV.

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