Students at six Cal State University campuses have vowed to fast until university leaders agree to freeze tuition, roll back administrative and executive salaries, and meet other demands.
Members of Students for Quality Education said that the hunger strike will begin Wednesday and involve 13 students at the Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, Sacramento and San Bernardino campuses.
In addition to a five-year tuition freeze and administrative pay cuts, students are calling for more free speech rights on campus and the elimination of housing and car allowances for the system's 23 campus presidents.
Speaking during a telephone news conference Friday, several of the students said they decided on the fast after Chancellor Charles Reed and Board of Trustees Chairman A. Robert Linscheid failed to meet with them or adequately respond to their concerns.
"We've tried pretty much everything, and they just ignore us," said Donnie Bessom, 27, a student at Cal State Long Beach. "We've talked to state legislators, written petitions, mobilized people on campus. The next step for us is in the tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience. They keep raising salaries and have those other luxuries, and we thought the symbolic nature of a hunger strike was appropriate to the crisis."