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Building to April 4: CFA, students speak out for the CSU at the Capitol

In one of California’s best fiscal years ever, it’s time to fund the CSU. That is the message faculty and students are bringing to CSU campuses and the Capitol where the 2018-19 State Budget is being hammered out.

Building up to the April 4 #FreeTheCSU Rally, faculty and students are organizing on CSU campuses, and working the halls and public hearings at the State Capitol.

Last week, CFA President Jennifer Eagan joined Chancellor Timothy White, Academic Senate Chair Christine Miller and California State Student Association President Maggie White at the Capitol to meet with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon about the CSU’s funding (see lower photo).

Governor Brown has proposed an increase of $92 million over this fiscal year, less than inflation, and too little to avoid a tuition hike or preserve current class offerings.

EAGAN, LEGISLATORS CALL FOR TUITION FREEZE, MORE CSU FUNDING

This week, Eagan addressed a news conference where legislators, students and other faculty called for a freeze on CSU and UC tuition increases while adding much more funding for the CSU than the governor has proposed.

“We faculty want to support students but we have to have added resources to do so,” Eagan said. “It is raining in the CSU, it is pouring. Now is the time to make that investment. Our students are being flooded away, they are being washed away in debt. And worse, others are not even getting their foot in the door in the CSU.”

Those calling for the tuition freeze were State Senators Steve Glazer, Ben Allen, Ed Hernandez, Jerry Hill, Bill Dodd, and Henry Stem. Notably they were joined by Assemblymembers Jose Medina and Catharine Baker, the chair and vice chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee respectively. That committee has a large influence on public higher education funding decisions made in the state legislature. (See photo: Eagan at podium, Medina and Glazer to her left.)

Eagan said CFA leaders believe the CSU needs at least a $422 million increase to avoid another tuition hike and to enroll at least 18,000 qualified students who are being turned away from the CSU. She pointed out that when most CSU students were white, funding was there. Now, when more than 70 percent of CSU students are students of color, the funding needs to be there, too.

Also on Monday, it was Lobby Day for the California State Student Association. They rallied outside the Capitol before the students went into the building to meet legislators.

On Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee will take up how much 2018-19 funding the CSU should get. CFA faculty leaders and students plan to fill the room and testify.

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