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Teachers, Students Hold Rallies At SDSU, UCSD Over Financial Grievances

Aired 11/9/11 on KPBS News.

Teachers and students aired their financial grievances today at rallies at San Diego State University and UC San Diego.

Students, faculty and staff protested funding cuts to higher education at University of California and California State campuses across the state today. San Diego State faculty rallied ahead of a statewide strike next week.

Two days of protests centered on $650 million in cuts to each of the public university systems this year.

During lunchtime picketing today, SDSU faculty called for Cal State Chancellor Charles Reed to honor two overdue raises outlined in their current contract.

Evening Edition

Watch Wednesday for more on this from KPBS Education Reporter Kyla Calvert.

Evening Edition airs weekdays at 5 PM and 6:30 PM on KPBS TV

“If we don’t stand up for that contract there’s no way the university is going to take our negotiations seriously in the current contract, which includes very important issues like class size and online education and how that will effect our students," said Jill Esbenshade, associate professor of sociology.

Esbenshade said they are also protesting class sizes that have doubled in her decade on campus.

“You just cannot give the same kind of education, the same kind of attention, the same kind of teaching in terms of writing and skills and critical thinking in large classes as you can in small classes,” Esbenshade said.

Local faculty will travel to Cal State’s Dominguez Hills and East Bay campuses to support strikes there on Nov. 17th. Classes in the San Diego area will not be disrupted.

SDSU Senior Aaron Bae was watching the picketers. He said he’s seen budget cuts change the classes he takes.

“When a professor has 200 essays to grade I’m sure the quality of the education goes down and with smaller classes I think you get more of an intimate setting where you’re able to connect with the professor,” Bae said.

Protesters are also expected to rally at next week’s Cal State Board of Trustees meeting. Trustees are scheduled to vote on a 9-percent tuition increase that would go into effect if the state makes mid-year cuts to the system. That's on top of a 23-percent increase that went into effect this fall.

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