The Academic Senate CSU asserts faculty rights

The statewide Academic Senate report to the CSU Trustees meeting last week tackled important issues including faculty rights as CFA prepares for a strike.

Academic Senate Chair Steven Filling, in the report, described “consternation over recent communications from some CSU presidents and administrator forbidding faculty to discuss in classrooms the potential strike…”

In explaining resolution AS-3249: Concerns about Administrative Communications regarding Classroom Discussion of Possible Strike Action, Filling said:

Much as I and the Senate respect [Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Lori] Lamb’s role in the CSU, we don’t believe she, or the campus presidents, are qualified to make informed decisions about the appropriateness or lack thereof of classroom discussion topics. The Senate’s statement affirms that the determination of the relevance of particular material to a class is the decision of the faculty teaching that class in the context of accepted pedagogical and disciplinary standards.

In light of VC Lamb’s remarks that CSU management intends to step up access to mental health counseling during the five days of the strike, Filling took the opportunity to express ongoing concern about the state of mental health counseling on CSU campuses in general.  He said,

I was cheered yesterday by VC Lamb’s reference to concern that our students have access to mental health services during any labor actions. I share that concern, although I offer the suggestion that it is not just during labor actions that our students need access to services.

He described the situation on his own campus, Stanislaus were the “staffing has fallen so low that we now have a program, ‘Call a Counselor,’ where students in need of services are connected by phone with a community mental health professional.  This program flies in the face of best practices… We can and should do better and I am confident that Lori’s comments yesterday signify a shared commitment to find a way to improve things.”

Among other topics discussed in the Academic Senate report are resolution AS-3236: Reaffirming the Principles of Share Governance within the California Sate University, AS 3246: Workplace Bullying within the CSU Community, AS-3248: Legislative Advocacy, and policy regarding online education.