Students for Quality Education: to make ourselves heard

In light of recent events within the California State University (CSU) system, from tuition increases and budget cuts to unaffordable housing, many students are left feeling that their voices are unheard. While quality education is as important as ever, the barriers appear to be ever-increasing. 

Advocating for educational rights within CSUs, Students for Quality Education (SQE) is here to offer a voice to the student body. 

SQE was formed by students in 2007 to fight for accessible, quality education for all, free from debt, discrimination and fear. 

According to the California Faculty Association (CFA), some demands of SQE’s campaign include free higher education, accountability for institutional discrimination, the divestment of campus law enforcement and funding of resource centers for mental health and marginalized groups.

Over the years, SQE has been instrumental in advocating for student interests at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and other CSU campuses.

SQE has organized demonstrations for affordable housing and free parking. Most recently, SQE attended the Sept. 13 CSU Board of Trustees meeting to protest the decision to increase tuition. 

Additionally, SQE, in partnership with the Abolitionist and Decolonial Learning Collective (ADLC), plays a key role in educating students about the issues that face them and their peers.

Education most often takes the form of community outreach via tabling during events such as Otter Thursdays and Club Rush.

According to Edwin Lopez, SQE member and president of ADLC, even on issues directly affecting them, “a lot of students still don’t know what’s going on.”

Some of the greatest issues facing students at CSUMB stem from a “lack of democracy, lack of transparency and accountability” within the CSU system, said Lopez.

Lopez noted the discrepancy between the interests of students and of administrators and believes that the usage of funding by the CSU system often does not reflect the interests of students due to a lack of adequate student representation in decision-making.

“How can the campus justify budget cuts, the merging of departments and a tuition hike when administrators are seeing wage increases by the year?” Lopez asked.

“We don’t want a single more fee or a single more budget cut without accountability from administration,” Lopez said.

Stressing the necessity for students to get involved, Lopez said, “we’re here to collaborate.”

SQE student intern, Daniel Cayton, underlined the importance of “more students taking up space,” reminding them “to let the university know that it wouldn’t be anything without students.”

On topics such as the tuition hike, “[SQE is] hoping to get a lot of student engagement because then the Board of Trustees can’t really turn their heads on us,” Cayton said. 

Reflecting on the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, Cayton remarked, “we left an impact. They definitely know we’re coming back.”

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