Agreement Reached in San Francisco Hunger Strike to Fund Ethnic Studies

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, NBC News, May 12, 2016

After 10 days of hunger strikes at San Francisco State University (SFSU), including a brief hospitalization of one of the four Third World Liberation Front 2016 hunger strikers Tuesday, an agreement with SFSU administration was reached Wednesday regarding the future of the SFSU College of Ethnic Studies.

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In this protest, which drew the support of actor and activist Danny Glover and ethnic studies programs around the nation, four students–Julia Retzlaff, 19; Ahkeel Andres Mestayer, 20; Hassani Bell, 18; and Sachiel Rossen, 19–launched a hunger strike on May 2, alleging that SFSU administration was trying to dismantle the program by starving it of funds and demanding $8 million in direct funding for the College of Ethnic Studies.

In a letter addressed to the SFSU community and “our Ethnic Studies family around the world,” and signed by SFSU President Leslie Wong and the four hunger strikers, the university administration agreed to eleven of the demands, including reallocating funding for two full-time tenure track faculty appointments in Africana Studies, reallocating funding for four work-study student positions, working towards departmental status for the Race and Resistance Studies program, and developing a program in Pacific Islander Studies. The agreement will result “in the additional investment of $482,806 in support of advancing the College–in addition to the $250,000 commitment for AY 2016-17 earlier already made by the President.”

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