The Academic Senate of the California State University passed a resolution on September 8 condemning Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester’s direct communication in a letter and as a video message to CSU employees about bargaining.

“It comes as no surprise that the resolution was approved unanimously during the ASCSU plenary,” said Gwen Urey, a professor at Cal Poly Pomona. “The video was disingenuous and a disgraceful attempt to undermine the outstanding work that we have been doing as a collective. Just read the hundreds of outraged and indignant YouTube comments and you’ll get a sense of where faculty, staff, students, and the general public stand.”

CFA Bargaining Chair Kevin Wehr responding to Interim Chancellor Koester’s video message.

Many of the faculty comments point to the chancellor’s absurd claim of austerity when her own housing allowance is greater than some lecturer and tenure-line faculty members’ annual salaries. Others poked fun at her repeated use of the word ‘magic’ as a substitute and complete disregard for the commitment that faculty have to their students and the effort they put into their classes.

Students also contributed to the comments section and expressed overwhelming support for the unjust treatment of faculty and staff. One student also mentions the unjustified six-figure raises that administrators received only to propose tuition increases for students not long after.

Many of the commenters credit the chancellor’s video message as the leading cause for why they are now eager to go on strike.

Koester’s attempts to counter our arguments with fearmongering threats of “difficult and painful” decisions on our campuses also flies in the face of the expanding administrative bloat while the CSU is also amassing $8.6 billion in cash investments and $3.7 billion in reserves.

Her messaging also refused to acknowledge any of our other proposals that correspond to a fair and reasonable contract. Nowhere did she mention raising the floor for our lowest-paid faculty, nor about improving our working conditions. She neglected to acknowledge our concerns regarding the safety of students and workers on campus, and ignored the need for better counselor ratios and mental health services on our campuses.

But Koester’s video was not unexpected. We can anticipate management to persist in their attempts to interfere with CSU employees’ rights. If you witness any shameless attempts by administrators to pressure CSU employees into accepting management’s bargaining offer, please notify us at Watch CFA Bargaining Chair and CSU Sacramento Professor Kevin Wehr react, fill in the gaps, and respond to Koester’s video message.

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