Board of Trustees Meeting Day 1 Highlights: Faculty, Activists Call out Trustees over Executive Pay, Ethnic Studies Implementation
A delayed start and fiery public testimonies highlighted the first day of the CSU’s Board of Trustees November meeting.
CFA members, students, and CSU staff continued to vehemently push back against Trustees approval of exorbitant pay raises for new executives.
CFA Secretary Diane Blair again made our position clear when she addressed the Board on Tuesday.
“It is disconcerting to have Trustees expressing concern for the hardship of campus presidents already making six figure salaries, in light of the facts about who is actually bearing the brunt of the budget woes in the CSU,” said Blair. “If the Board of Trustees refuses to have any good sense or a conscience when it comes to executive pay, then I call on these newly selected executives to demonstrate what President Castro might refer to as ‘bold’ leadership and refuse these excessive salary increases for their positions.”
CFA Political Action and Legislation Chair Steven Filling, while speaking on the budget, also hit the Board on pay increase for executives while cutting staff and faculty jobs.
“We appreciate the CSU starting to take a stronger stance with respect to budget requests and think that stance is validated by the evidence,” said Filling. “That stronger stance is not buttressed by layoffs of CSU employees at some campuses or by inordinate compensation increases for executives. Our governor and legislators have made clear in conversations and in budget trailer language that those are areas where CSU needs to tread carefully.”
So far, at least 130 staff employees have been laid off at San Francisco State; faculty coaches have lost their jobs as sports programs have been eliminated at Fresno State; department chairs at Humboldt State are being told to plan for a reduction of course offerings as early as Spring 2021; and at least 900 lecturers have lost work across the CSU system.
Last week, CFA signed a solidarity statement on behalf of these employees. To support their efforts, consider signing their no-layoffs petition.
As context, at their last meeting the Trustees approved a $147,000 raise for the incoming Chancellor, a 30 percent increase over outgoing Chancellor Timothy White, as well as 10 percent raises for two incoming presidents.
While speaking about an encouraging budget proposal from the CSU, CFA President Charles Toombs said that “in the present environment, when students need faculty and staff support so much, and with an encouraging revenue forecast, there is absolutely no reason for layoffs or shrinking work assignments. There is no humane justification for forcing employees and their families off healthcare coverage during a pandemic. It is unconscionable.”
Students and faculty also spoke out against the Ethnic Studies implementation plan proposed by the Chancellor’s Office. Students want maximum flexibility and campus autonomy for these courses. The Council on Ethnic Studies, statewide Academic Senate, at least 18 campus Academic Senates, and CFA agree and want to see this as a non-general education and/or general education requirement with flexibility in higher and lower divisions.
Trustees later approved an amendment to Title 5 that eliminated “social justice” language first implemented this summer by Trustees and the Chancellor’s Office before Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1460. The language currently states Ethnic Studies will be in lower division, though Trustees acknowledged discussions are ongoing and changes could be voted on in January.
During public comment, CFA Vice President Kevin Wehr updated Trustees on bargaining with management and their attempts at a power grab over faculty.
“CFA seeks to get through and come out of the pandemic by continuing to provide quality education. Workload remains a huge priority as faculty deal with continued extra and uncompensated work, ultimately hurting our students,” said Wehr. “Management’s proposals so far seek to limit faculty rights.”
Also, members of Students for Quality Education demanded that Trustees divest from militarized campus police forces and re-invest student tuition for student spaces and resource centers. Students also protested Wednesday outside of the Office of the Chancellor over this very cause.