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CSU faculty union demanding free tuition for Black, Native American, and Indigenous students

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At the Palm Desert campus of Cal State San Bernardino, banners feature photos of students of color.  

Now, the California Faculty Association wants more students of color on the campus, and the 22 other campuses in the Cal State System.  

"We need a radical change to address a systemic ill that is structured into our society and that is part of our American culture," said Dr. Sharon Elise, Chair of the Sociology Department at California State University San Marcos, and a member of the CFA. 

The union represents nearly 30,000 faculty and staff at the CSU system.

The union recently published a list of demands on their website, including free tuition for Black, Native American, and Indigenous students, to address and correct what the CFA calls "anti-Black racism" on the CSU campuses.

Elise says the union's work on the initiative began five years ago.

"When the George Floyd murder by police occurred we already had this work going on.  But at that time we determined we needed to take action deeper and broader," said Elise. 

Daniel Brown is a Sophomore at CSUSB Palm Desert.

A student of mixed-heritage, he says he has never personally experienced racism on campus.

We asked him about free tuition based on race.

"I don't know how it would solve racism.  Giving out money, in terms of reparations, then I think it could be a good idea especially if they found incidents of racism here," said Brown. 

Another demand from the California Faculty Association is protection for Black students who are LGBTQIA+.

The union is also demanding the CSU system hire and make greater efforts to retain black instructors.

The CFA also wants to "defund and remove armed and militarized policing from campus".

"We are a social justice union dedicated to really addressing the social ills in our society," said Elise. 

Dr. Elise says the union will eventually push for free tuition for all students enrolled in the California State University System.

Click the link to view CFA’s "Anti-Racism and Social Justice Transformation Package" at the CSU.

Link: https://www.calfac.org/sites/main/files/cfa_arsj_demands_in_wake_of_anti-black_racism_violence_and_murder_final.pdf

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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