Members across the state came together last week to speak directly with lawmakers about issues impacting education, student learning, faculty working conditions, health and safety, and racial and social justice.

This year’s annual Lobby Days included both virtual and in-person meetings.

A group of people posing for a photo
CFA Treasurer Vang Vang, Associate Vice President of Lecturers, North, Meghan O’Donnell, Associate Vice President of Lecturers, South, Monishia Miller, and President Charles Toombs take a break during Lobby Days

More than 150 members met via Zoom with lawmakers to advocate for priority CFA initiatives, such as increasing the supply of affordable housing for students and faculty and fighting climate change by divesting pension funds from fossil fuel companies.

CFA officers traveled to Sacramento where they met with Gov. Gavin Newsom, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond – all of whom sit on the CSU Board of Trustees. CFA member leaders spoke about the need for an increase to proposed CSU funding for 2022-23 that would enable the CSU to hone recently negotiated compensation increases for faculty and provide equivalent increases for all CSU employees. Members also expressed the dire need for an independent, outside investigation of the CSU and its Title IX policies and practices to better protect survivors or sexual harassment and abuse.

“We reminded our elected officials it is critically important that they participate fully on the Board of Trustees. Our students, our colleagues, and the public higher education system that enables California to thrive all rely on their advocacy,” said Steven Filling, CFA Political Action and Legislative Committee chair and CSU Stanislaus professor.

Other CFA priorities promoted by members during Lobby Days: 

  • Divesting public employee pension investments from fossil fuels
  • Establishing a workgroup to research alternatives to CSU campus policing
  • Expanding CSU parental leave to one semester
  • Creating a task force to examine the impact that teacher candidate standardized assessments have on the severe teacher shortage and the lack of diversity in the teaching workforce
  • Streamlining and funding student and faculty housing to increase the supply of affordable housing

CFA members also provided expert testimony at legislative hearings on parental leave and fossil fuel divestment.

During her testimony in support of Assembly Bill 2464, CFA Associate Vice President of Lecturers, North, Meghan O’Donnell reminded lawmakers that providing adequate parental leave is a public policy issue, an equal rights issue, and an issue of fairness, equity, and inclusion.

“Inadequate support for working parents, including a lack of paid parental leave, is a driving force in womxn leaving the workplace. We also know that inadequate support for parents has a long-term disparate impact on working mothers related to their pay, promotion, and pensions,” O’Donnell testified. “Like issues related to Title IX, it is critical the government not leave parental leave, which has such weighty implications for the equity and inclusion of womxn in the CSU, to the hands of an employer who has proven repeatedly that they are not up to the task.”

CFA members also met with Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins.

“I had an inspirational time with other CFA members who so strongly advocated for improved funding for the CSU, health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, and social justice on our campuses,” CFA President Charles Toombs said. “I am proud of our work on anti-racism, climate justice, gender equity, and public education, and our efforts to hold public officials accountable to strengthening student learning and faculty working conditions.”

Lobby Days culminated with a reception for CFA Legislators of the Year: Senator Connie Leyva and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. Both were honored for being fearless and unwavering champions for public higher education and racial, gender, and social justice.

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