California Democratic Party convention to take up tuition-free public higher education

Among the many resolutions coming before the California Democratic Party convention this weekend is a call to make public higher education tuition-free again.

The California Faculty Association is on the list of resolution endorsers along with the Council of UC Faculty Associations and some 200 other organizations and individuals, many of whom are convention delegates.

In addition to serving as president of the Channel Islands CFA Chapter, John Griffin is chair of the Ventura County Democratic Party and will be a delegate at the convention this weekend.

Griffin explains this convention matters because “in California, Democrats hold the governor seat and have a supermajority in the state legislature. This convention is one of the places where we can speak to power about issues that affect CSU faculty and students. It’s important to be there to promote the values we hold dear.”

The proposed resolution reads in part:

“The California Democratic Party supports a recommitment to the Master Plan by increasing public funding to fully fund core operations, restore academic quality and per-student funding to historical levels and eliminate tuition at the UC, CSU, and CC through progressive taxation applying to all Californians. Every in-state student ready and willing should have the access and opportunity to attend a public college or university at no additional cost. The financial aid system should be used to support living costs of low- and middle-income students while attending college…”

About 30 CFA members will be delegates, and many of them will staff a table where they can talk with convention attendees about CFA’s findings in the Equity Interrupted research paper, including the fact that as the CSU student body has become more diverse, per-student funding from the state has declined.

CFA members also will discuss with delegates CFA-sponsored bills that are before the state legislature now. Among these, there is AB 1464, which addresses the importance of increasing tenure-track hiring in the CSU.