Students protest CSU tuition increases with ‘Walking Debt’ zombie lie-in
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Students lay down in the main quad as part of the “Walking Debt” lie-in protesting the 5 percent CSU tuition increase on Thursday, March 16.
Around fifteen students participated in the flashmob, lying on the ground while holding signs relevant to the CSU tuition increase such as, “71% graduated students have student loans,” and “Tell the CSU, ‘NO More Tuition increases! tinyurl.com/defendcsu or call (562) 951-4700.”
The event was organized by Fund our Future, a group at De Anza who aim to provide affordable higher education.
Sara Elzeiny, 18, computer science major, said Fund our Future is trying to build a movement where students can get involved.
“We are the walking debt,” Ben Wergin, 25, psychology major, announced as he circled the fountain. “As students, we cannot afford to pay more every year. Let them know they can’t keep bleeding us dry. Tell the CSU’s no more tuition increases.”
Participants also distributed over 270 stickers that provided the general public with information on how they could make a change.
The protest attracted over 50 spectators and exposed students to the arising problem. Wergin said the most important part was that it was visible and noticeable.
Participant Shruthi Dommeti, 21, accounting major, said, “I am concerned about tuition increases, and [believe] we should have cheaper prices.”
“The CSUs are bleeding us dry. They are turning us into zombies,” Wergin said. He said the “Walking Debt” theme was inspired by SQE’s protest past protest at Long Beach at the Board of Trustees.
According to Wergin, the California State University administration wants to increase the cost of tuition by 600 dollars a year, and UC schools just voted to increase their own tuition. Since 2003, CSU tuition has gone up 280 percent. De Anza currently sees around 800 transfer students to SJSU, and several hundreds to other CSUs.
Elzeiny said Fund our Future is working on Proposition 13 reform, which has to do with property taxes.
“It could bring 9 billion dollars a year to education a year,” she said. “Education should really be working to get state funding, and not ask students for as much funding.”