SF State hunger strike ends after funding deal reached

A hunger strike at San Francisco State University ended Wednesday after students and faculty reached a deal with university officials that included additional funding for the College of Ethnic Studies.

The deal announced by University President Les Wong and a group representing the hunger strikers includes $482,806 in additional funding for the college, including funds for two full-time tenure track faculty positions in the Department of Africana Studies, among other provisions.

It also includes an agreement by the university to forego disciplinary proceedings against students, faculty staff or administrators specifically for their participation in protest and advocacy efforts.

The deal, announced in a joint statement this afternoon, includes a media “silent period,” meaning that both sides have agreed to make no further public statements through the end of this year.

A group of students began a hunger strike on May 2 in response to what they and faculty members have described as attacks and retaliation on the College of Ethnic Studies. In particular, they alleged that the university cut funding for two positions in the Department of Africana Studies and demanded increased funding for the college.

University officials have said that they did not cut funding, but that the department has routinely exceeded its budget for the past several years and the university has been making up the shortfall with one-time funds that are now depleted.

One student, Julia Retzlaff, 19, was hospitalized on May 9 after complaining of chest pain earlier in the day but was released within a few hours and returned to the hunger strike, according to group spokesman Andrew Jolivette, a professor and chair of the American Indian Studies Department.

The other participating students have been identified as as Ahkeel Andres Mestayer, 20, Hassani Bell, 18, and Sachiel Rosen, 19.