Students protest President Hutchinson’s fee increases at Kendall Hall


Student protesters gather near Kendall Hall Monday to voice strong opinions against the student fee increases. Nearly 50 students attended and some gave speeches before leading rally chants. Photo credit: Alex Grant

Nearly 50 students gathered outside Kendall Hall Monday to protest the recently approved student fee increases.

Student participants began the protest with speeches and a rally at about 11 a.m. Brigitte Dahrouj, who helped organize the event, was one of many expressing her frustration with the increases and student debt.

“Next week is finals, and we have to be out here (expletive) protesting instead of studying, because our livelihood is at stake,” Dahrouj said.

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Brigitte Dahrouj leads student protesters in a march around Kendall Hall Monday. Dahrouj, a second-year political science major, organized and hosted the protest and sit-in. Photo credit: Alex Grant

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Jamie Cabrera, a lead organizer of Students for Quality Education, speaks about how student fee increases will affect DACA students at the protest Monday. Photo credit: Alex Grant

Students then marched around Kendall Hall for about 25 minutes.

President Gayle Hutchinson came out of Kendall Hall around noon to listen to speeches.

Hutchinson stated that students had “misinformation” about the new physical science building and the funding of the new wildcat statue, and said that her final decision to raise fees was for the well-being of students.

“The decision I made was a very difficult one, but at the end of the day what I do…is to provide services for all students,” she said. Hutchinson’s speech was interrupted several times by students who spoke on topics like student debt and impacted majors.

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President Hutchinson speaks to students about how difficult it was for her to come to the conclusion to raise all three student fees. Hutchinson came out of Kendall Hall around noon Monday to listen to a few student speakers and then say a few words. She also said that the need for the fee increases stems from a lack of state funding. Photo credit: Alex Grant

“What I encourage you to do, is to take this up with the state who has not been sufficiently funding the CSU for years,” Hutchinson responded to students.

At 1 p.m. students staged a silent sit-in protest in Kendall Hall, making posters to place on the door to the president’s office, with phrases like, “You’re taking money from students who can’t afford food,” “Because of the fees I might have to drop,” and more.

Several students also attended the final meeting of the Governmental Affairs Committee at 4 p.m., where the topic of the fees was on the agenda to be discussed.

“The fact that this body’s first response wasn’t immediately ‘no we condemn this fee increases,’ on that principle alone I think is a real sort of failure of leadership,” said Jeremy Markley, a graduating senior and political activist.

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Senior political science major Jeremy Markley speaks about how the rising student fees aren’t completely President Hutchinson’s fault at the protest Monday. Markley said that while Hutchinson should support students’ voices, the fee increases are due to lack of state funding. Photo credit: Alex Grant

“We’ve been protesting, we voted, we showed up to the forums…we did everything you asked of us, and this still happened, despite the vast majority of the student population saying no,” Dahrouj said. “So yes, this current GAC, cannot do anything.”

Members of the committee also expressed disappointment at the lengthy process, some of the fees and the lack of transparency in receiving a budget breakdown of exactly where the fees will go from the administration, despite being told they would receive one.

A.S. President Alisha Sharma said that the final decision was made by Hutchinson one week before the final GAC meeting and as such no formal action could be taken by the current committee.

Josh Cozine, Natalie Hanson and Alex Grant can be reached at [email protected] or @TheOrion_News on Twitter.