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Davis, California

Monday, June 24, 2024

Sac State students charged for sit-in

Last week, the administration at California State University, Sacramento charged the “Sac State Four” – Amanda Mooers, Yeimi Lopez, Nora Walker and Mildred Garcia Gomez – with code of conduct violations for their recent sit-in protest at the campus’ Sacramento Hall.

The four students were issued warnings.

The sit-in lasted from April 13 to 16, until the police intervened around 3 a.m. The Sacramento State and San Francisco State police ejected 27 students protesting fee raises.

The misconduct notices to the four students stated they acted in violation of the California Administrative Code policies, including the rules regulating the time, place and manner of individual expression and conduct on campus. More specifically, students were accused of not complying with administration or police, and unauthorized camping and lodging.

In March, California State University (CSU) lost $500 million in state funding for the 2011-12 fiscal year. CSU decided to regain around $142 million of revenue through tuition fee increases already approved for fall, leaving the system with an approximate reduction of $400 million.

Last October, Sacramento State president Alexander Gonzalez banned lawyers from student disciplinary investigations and hearings on an executive order by CSU Chancellor Charles Reed.

UC Davis School of Law professor Rex R. Perschbacher, who specializes in civil rights, ethics and legal education, said typically students at UC Davis are allowed to have lawyers at hearings.

“It will usually be a faculty person from the school,” Perschbacher said. “If serious enough claims are being erred, it’s good to have council and it will be balanced if both sides have legal council. The danger of having lawyers on both sides is that the focus can get drawn way from students and administrators.”

Leonard Valdez, interim director of student conduct for Sacramento State, said although he cannot speak about this particular case, students are given verbal or written warnings for their first violation.

“The second violation is not treated as kindly,” Valdez said. “For example, if a freshman commits plagiarism, we will go over the rules, show them the website and have them sign something that says they are aware of the policy. There is no excuse for the second violation though.”

With a second violation, students face probation or expulsion.

Mooers, a Sacramento State senior sociology major and member of the Sac State Coalition, was unhappy with how the administration handled her case.

“We felt that we had to speak out about the administration misprioritizing fees,” Mooers said. “There are a lot of ways they could have handled the situation better. For example, the president didn’t allow us to have legal representation at the disciplinary meetings; this makes me really question the kind of decisions he is making.”

Even with the disciplinary action, Mooers said she remains motivated to continue her fight against fee hikes.

“The allegations and disciplinary process haven’t deterred me,” she said. “It’s galvanized my determination to keep the fight going and make sure decision makers are doing a good job.”

Lopez, a Sacramento State senior intercultural and international communications major, said although her family has been supportive of what she has been doing, they want her to be careful.

Starting Monday, students, including the four protestors, marched with the California Teachers Association on the Capitol. This is part of a weeklong protest against cuts to education. Two students and one teacher were arrested on the first day.

ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached at city@theaggie.org. 

1 COMMENT

  1. Who edits an Associate Editor’s work?

    Mistakes like “council” vs. “counsel” are embarrassing for a college newspaper.

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