When the California State University Board of Trustees headed into their meeting chambers in Long Beach at 8 a.m. Tuesday, more than two dozen students marched outside in protest of a controversial proposal to increase tuition for the first time in six years.
Repeated chants of “students not customers!” and “the more we pay, the longer we stay!” pierced the early morning silence. Many had arrived before 5:30 a.m. from Dominguez Hills, Fullerton and other campuses across the state to set up a dramatic “graveyard” on the lawn, decorated with tombstones depicting the system’s 23 campuses. “R.I.P Fresno State,” read one. Another one, covered in fake cobwebs, declared: “Here lies San Diego State.”
The students, playing off the popular apocalyptic TV show “The Walking Dead,” donned zombie face paint, wore shirts covered in fake blood and carried signs that said, “We are the Walking Debt.”
“We’re going for something big, something visual. Our concern is that the Board of Trustees and Chancellor White are not listening to us,” said Courtney Yamagiwa, a member of Cal State Long Beach’s Associated Students Inc. and the grassroots activist group Students for Quality Education, which is leading Tuesday’s protest. The group pledged to “shut down any plans to increase student tuition that will force more students to drop out of college.”
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