CFA members addressed a range of concerns from the ongoing lack of student mental health services to instructional budget cuts on campuses during public comment at Tuesday’s CSU trustees meeting.

CFA members holding picket signs rally against tuition increases.
CFA Members rally against tuition increases at the September 2023 CSU Trustee meeting.

CFA Pomona Member Rachael Hill called out CSU Trustees and administrators for not addressing and prioritizing the student mental health crisis.

“…The percentage of students experiencing mental health problems increased 50 percent in the last decade. Rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation are higher today. The majority of our students meet the criteria for at least one mental health issue. And those most at risk are Undocumented students, veteran students, LGBTQ students, low-income, first-gen students. In other words, our students – the ones our institutions serve and not reflected in our budgetary priorities,” said Hill, Assistant Professor at Cal Poly Pomona. “Faculty who are NOT trained mental health counselors are on the frontlines of this. I could tell you stories about students attempting suicide over spring break, and students facing homelessness. We see how indifferent the administrators are to the pain we see every day. Expanding mental health support needs to be treated should be treated like the urgent public health crisis that it is.”

CFA East Bay President Jeff Newcomb urged the CSU Trustees to stop cuts to instructional budget cuts while continuing to fund administrative raises and new buildings.

“We face cuts of over 300 courses together with cuts in programs and services intended to strengthen student learning. Cuts of similar magnitude are expected to continue, frustrating students in getting the courses they want and need for timely graduation. These cuts are excessive, and unevenly applied, slicing into the muscle of East Bay’s mission. They raise tuition each year and cut back on the courses and the teachers we want,” said Newcomb, Lecturer at CSU East Bay. “We’re told that cutbacks are due to dramatically declining enrollments and necessary for “right sizing. But enrollments fluctuate!

“Our data analysis shows that for 2023-24, enrollments of new students on our campus increased by 11 percent. Enrollments in my department are, for example, holding steady and growing with popular subjects like Marketing Analytics. How will new initiatives in recruiting students bear fruit if, simultaneously, instructional and program cuts continue? We urge the Board of Trustees to stop East Bay’s WRONG SIZING.”

CFA Monterey Bay Member Lisa LaSalle demanded that CSU Trustees reverse the harmful tuition hikes and drew attention to the plight of graduate students.

“This tuition hike is the worst for our hard-working, racially marginalized students with their bachelors and maybe post-bac degrees in hand! Consider their student loan debt ratios, their commutes, etc.,” said LaSalle. “We need these students who can’t afford our tuition and they need us! Let’s discount their tuition or get to a place where we can freeze tuition. Reverse this tuition hike at the CSU!”

While many faculty face job loss and students face increased tuition and fewer classes, CSU trustees continue to deliberate how much they should increase executive pay. Budgets are moral documents and the trustees continue to prioritize executive compensation over the needs of faculty, staff, and students.

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