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Cal State Fullerton students sit in for second day

April 19, 2011 | 12:07 pm

Sit-in

Students at Cal State Fullerton are staging a sit-in outside the offices of President Milton A. Gordon and are refusing to leave unless he signs a document they're calling "a declaration to defend public education."

The protest began Monday with about two dozen students from the Fullerton campus and Cal State Dominguez Hills staying overnight in Langsdorf Hall, the main administration building. The students have been peaceful, and there have been no arrests, officials said.

Sit-in2 The students have met with Gordon twice to try to get his support for a statement that calls for increased funding for higher education and for educators to "reassert the value of learning and knowledge not only as an economic necessity, but also as a social, cultural and democratic good."

"This is about working together and both sides being happy with it," said student organizer Cameron Mahdad, 19, a sophomore business major. "Once we get a universal declaration that has been worked on with administration, students, faculty and staff, other campuses will get their presidents to sign, and with this, hopefully public education can be protected.”

Campus officials said that one of the key sticking points is a letter accompanying the declaration  that suggests that Cal State Chancellor Charles B. Reed has refused to bargain for fair contracts with  faculty and staff.
   
"It represents one side of a labor-management negotiation, and the president can't be expected to sign such a statement," Cal State Fullerton spokesman Christopher Bugbee said.

Gordon did, however, issue a statement saying he supported many points of the declaration and commending the students for their civic engagement. The vice president for student affairs is meeting with the students to try to find a compromise, Bugbee said.

Students and faculty at all 23 Cal State campuses held rallies, marches and sit-ins last week to protest rising tuition and state funding cuts to higher education.

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-- Carla Rivera

Upper photo: Cameron Mahdad takes a nap in the hallway of Cal State Fulleron administration building  after spending the night participating in a sit-in to protest education cuts. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Cal State Fullerton students take part in the sit-in. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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