Thursday’s public hearing was unlike any forum held. From the start, students, faculty, and community members were determined to make their voices heard, and they were successful.
This was the two of three public hearings scheduled to be held as a response to the students rebut towards the Admissions Proposal Plan.
The hearing was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. but with no explanation was pushed back by almost thirty minutes. The University Student Union Theater was filled to capacity with everyone chanting phrases like, “No to impaction!” and “No to exclusion!”
Only 200 people were allowed inside the theater which left students feeling insulted by the lack of support from the university who is ranked number one in the nation for upward mobility.
The room demanded that President William Covino and Provost Lynn Mahoney omit the arranged power point presentation that was used at the hearings at Pasadena City College and East Los Angeles College, and go straight to the Q&A portion, and the demands were quickly met.
Each individual that spoke was filled with emotions as they told their personal stories that got them to where they are today.
“This university once meant everything to me,” said fourth year student Jorge Matthew David.
“Now that they’re eliminating students who likely need this the most, it’s just not right, this has to change now,” he said.
There was a large amount of parents and community activists that spoke only Spanish in the crowd and because of the groups support, they were able to call for a professional translator.
“We’re here to support each other” said Golden Eagle Justice organizer Danielle Mayen.
“We’re not intimidated and we’re not scared,” she said.
Mayen explained that she was advised by admin not to protest and not to rally because of the university’s relationship with California Governor Gavin Newsom and the funds he provides the university.
“I want to set the path for those before me, to come after me and have the same opportunity that I did,” she said in protest to the administration.
In Fall 2016, President Covino made the decision to over-enroll, despite the resistance from faculty and staff. When Covino was confronted by this information at the hearing, he avowed his actions.
After an emotional three hours, the hearing attendees felt the same as they did when they first entered through the U-SU Theater doors, President Covino reportedly walked out during a students plead for answers.
“Covino walked out on me as I was speaking to him,” Mayen said. “It was the most disrespectful thing I [have] seen done to me by an administrator.”
Vice Provost Tom Enders, Mahoney, and Covino sat in silence through the duration of the hearing and only responded in “rehearsed administrative language.”
“We didn’t get our questions answered,” Mayed added. “Tonight should have been enough for them to know that the community does not want this to happen.”
Golden Eagle Justice, the students of Cal State LA, and the surrounding community will continue to fight until the university agrees to take a one year moratorium to better allocate the school’s funding so no student will be denied the opportunity to a better future.