Last week’s CSU Board of Trustees meeting was punctuated by tense moments. Our own CFA President Charles Toombs was cut off during his one-minute of public comments. Toombs called out the inaction of the Chancellor’s Office to commit to the alternatives to campus policing task force. Toombs was silenced while demanding an immediate response from Interim CSU Chancellor Koester.
Many speakers regularly go over the inadequate and undemocratic one-minute of public comment per speaker including elected officials and stakeholder representatives; therefore, it was striking that the only person cut off was a Black CSU professor and union leader.
Later in the agenda, Koester announced that the CSU is now observing Juneteenth. She then unironically named several programs to recruit and support Black faculty and students. Notably, she did not mention steps, strategies, and partnerships designed to combat anti-Black racism and white supremacy on campus.
Craven Building Name Change
During public comment, faculty, students, and alumni spoke passionately in support of changing the name of William A. Craven Hall at the California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) campus. The building was named in 1991 in honor of the late Sen. William A. Craven.
For years campus advocates and CFA leaders have fought for Craven to be removed.
In Spring 2021, CSUSM’s academic senate passed a resolution supporting the renaming of Craven Hall in light of statements and actions he made in the early 1990s related to undocumented and Latinx people.
For example, at a 1993 legislative hearing, Sen. Craven referred to undocumented immigrants as being on the “lower scale of our humanity.” In a 1994 interview, then-Senator Craven indicated his support for a legal-resident eligibility card for Latin Americans. Senator Craven initiated and supported controversial and flawed studies attempting to assess the economic cost of undocumented persons in San Diego County.
The trustees later approved the name change with no debate. Koester also announced that there will be a committee to develop a new name.
CSU officials presented increasingly concerning data on enrollment. After a Fall 2020 enrollment peak of over 390,000, by Fall 2022, the state-supported student headcount had declined by more than 25,000 across all the CSU campuses.
In response, the Chancellor’s Office announced a plan wherein any campus missing its enrollment target by 10 percent or more will permanently lose up to 5 percent of its state enrollment funding. The lost funds would be distributed among campuses exceeding their enrollment targets. After active debate, Koester further clarified that this plan won’t take effect until 2024-25.
Seven campuses were identified as missing 10 percent or more state enrollment targets. CSU Channel Islands, Chico State, Cal State East Bay, Cal Poly Humboldt, Cal Maritime, Sonoma State, and San Francisco State. Cal Matters estimates that if the program was implemented today, these campuses would collectively lose $38 million.
Notably, many of the corresponding campus presidents received massive “market equity adjustments” premised on the idea that competing institutions will almost certainly poach these high-performing presidents.
In response to retention issues, Cal Poly Pomona is rolling out an AI Chatbot, Billy Chat. The bot will ask students why they haven’t registered for classes.