(Fresno, CA) – California State University (CSU), Fresno students, faculty, and staff launched an aggressive online campaign Thursday, urging legislators to “Stand up for California” and keep the doors to higher education open to Central Valley students by supporting Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget plan.
Following a rally on campus, students, faculty and staff set up mobile action stations that allowed ralliers to immediately email Senator Tom Berryhill and other Valley legislators urging them to protect the CSU system from more cuts by maintaining existing revenues. Students also departed to hand-deliver messages from the campus community to Senator Berryhill’s Fresno office.
“For students like me who come from working families, college is our dream, a dream passed down from our parents and grandparents. More cuts will result in higher fees and reduced access, turning this dream into a painful disappointment for too many students,” said Hector Cerda, a graduate student in social work at Fresno State. “Today we are launching a campus campaign to Stand Up for California’s future by providing students, faculty, staff and our community tools to help all our voices be heard.”
After $1 billion in cuts made to the CSU and University of California systems earlier this year, Governor Brown’s budget plan maintains current revenues so California won’t have to make even deeper cuts to education that is so critical to our future.
“Our business partners tell me how they are enriched by the opportunity to work with inspiring, talented and creative young people from our campus. It is these relationships and our strong academic programs that make Fresno State vital to the economic development in the Valley,” added Nancy Kobata, a Fresno State staff member who matches students with local leaders in the Entrepreneurship Mentor program. “If we maintain the revenues needed to keep CSU strong, there’s every reason to believe the next Bill Gates could be a graduate of Fresno State.”
A state budget that doesn’t maintain existing revenues — the approach some valley legislators prefer — would mean $15 billion more in cuts, and hundreds of thousands of qualified young people turned away from California’s public colleges and universities.
“If we don’t maintain existing revenues, California risks breaking the promise it made to generations of young people – the promise that if you work hard you can succeed, no matter what your background,” said Lisa Weston, PhD, Chair of the English Department at Fresno State. “Fresno State faculty ask Senator Berryhill to join us in supporting Governor Brown’s budget so the next generation of Californians have the opportunity to be outstanding educators, writers, and leaders.”
CSU Fresno students and educators are among families, seniors, parents, business owners and others who have put aside their differences to support Governor Brown’s balanced approach to closing the state’s budget gap and move California’s economic recovery forward. The governor’s plan includes cuts he has already signed into law and a proposal to maintaining existing revenues that has been held up by partisan gridlock.