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Cal State Fullerton students rally to support Occupiers

November 15, 2011 |  3:09 pm

Photo: Cal State University Fullerton sophomore Claudio Soria leads his fellow students in protest in the quad at Cal State Fullerton Tuesday. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles TimesAbout 100 students marched around the main quad of Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday to support the Occupy movement, chanting,"We want an education, if not we'll strike and start an occupation."

Several hundred more listened on the sidelines to students who held signs declaring, "Put Students First," and "We are the 99%." Student speakers voiced support for the Occupy movements on Wall Street and in Oakland.

Karley White held a sign that read, "We are Living proof that the system is broken."

White, a women's studies major, said budget cuts have decimated her department and she can't get the classes she needs to graduate. White said she has taken out loans to pay for her education and fears another tuition hike will sink her into more debt.

"The minute I get out, I have to start paying back loans with a job I can't get," said White, 21. "I'm being pushed further and further into a hole."

Nicholas Barrington said he works at Disneyland and gets some help from his parents to pay tuition. He and other students said they want more student and faculty voices on the Board of Trustees and greater funding support from lawmakers.

"They're not seeing that they were where we are at some point," said Barrington, 23, who is majoring in linguistics and human services. "They don't see themselves in relation to us and we are going to be making the future."

A group of students planned to occupy part of campus and stay overnight to draw attention to their cause. Campus officials said they will try to accommodate students and set aside a grassy area near the engineering and computer science building with 24-hour access to toilets and the student health center.

"It provides reasonable safety and services, but it's all contingent on what the students ask for," said campus spokesman Christopher Bugbee. "This is a university, and free speech is a value held by everyone here. Our default position is to accommodate as far as we can."


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-- Carla Rivera

Photo: Cal State Fullerton sophomore Claudio Soria leads his fellow students in protest in the quad Tuesday. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times