Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.

Students, staff and faculty mobilized across all 23 California State University campuses, one UC campus and numerous campuses nationwide yesterday to protest the degradation of higher education. The mobilization, deemed the “Class Action” defense of public higher education, was endorsed by the California Faculty Association (CFA) and joined by students and staff.

The CFA declared the day of action as a “critical” move to “win a fair contract for faculty and staff and protect quality education for students.”

“This was no small thing,” said spokesperson for the CFA Brian Ferguson. “We are a unified voice, we are not going to fight for the scraps of what is left in the budget. We need to take steps to ensure that the education that was there for us will be there for the next generation.”

Ferguson estimated that around 12,000 individuals participated in the day of action across the 23 CSUs, including CSU Humboldt, where an estimated 500 individuals mobilized. Sit-ins were attempted at 12 CSUs and carried out at 11. At CSU Long Beach the attempted sit-in was halted because the building had been shut down prior to their arrival. Sit-ins also took place on campuses ranging from San Francisco State University up to Humboldt State.

Ferguson said that while the CFA supports the sit-ins, the action was coordinated by students. At CSU Sacramento, faculty engaged in the sit-in with students. Ferguson said that the sit-ins were generally successful, as students and administrators met and in many cases reached agreement on the protestors’ demands.

“Many sit-ins got meetings with administration and got localized demands met,” Ferguson said. “The publicity got the message across — that students are paying attention and invested in higher education. Even at Long Beach, where they did not sit-in, they managed to shut down the building.”

As of press time, students and faculty engaging in the sit-in at CSU Sacramento were meeting with administrators and had only one demand left to be met.

The day of action was nationally recognized by Universities in New York and New Jersey, including Rutgers State University. Ferguson expects that the day of action will be met with further mobilization.

“This is not a one-time event,” Ferguson said. “This is the start of a campaign.”