CFA bills on ethnic studies requirement, CSU good governance move to next committees

Two of CFA’s sponsored bills passed out of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education on Tuesday afternoon. Both bills, AB 1460 and AB 930, passed with 9-1 votes and will be heard next in the Appropriations Committee.

AB 1460, authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber and sponsored by CFA, would make Ethnic Studies be a graduation requirement across the CSU system. Dr. Weber, Professor Emerita and co-founder of Africana Studies at San Diego State University, spoke strongly on the importance and timeliness of her bill. “It’s been 50 years since the students kicked down doors at San Francisco State. Fifty long years and it’s about time at the anniversary of the 50 years that we basically institute a requirement at the universities for ethnic studies.”

Melina Abdullah, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at Cal State LA, spoke in support of the bill. She emphasized that “we have not really addressed racial and social justice issues in this country. And we are not going to address them by keeping the status quo. In order to promote social and racial justice, you need to change systems and history. This bill is doing both.”

Cal State LA student, Ayzia Clowney, also offered her perspective on the importance of Ethnic Studies and the role it played in her success as a student. She told the committee in no uncertain terms that “school did not interest me because I did not see myself or my story in the things we were learning. My freshman year of college I took a Critical Race Theory course, and it changed my life.”

The committee also heard AB 930, CSU Board of Trustees Good Governance, authored by Assemblymember Todd Gloria. Jennifer Eagan, Professor of Philosophy, Public Affairs, and Administration at CSU East Bay and CFA President, spoke in support for CFA. If passed, this bill would require greater transparency when the CSU Board of Trustees takes an action concerning executive compensation, including the approval of executive salaries or a change to policies. The Trustees and public would need to first hear any proposed actions as an information item and Trustees could only vote at a subsequent Board meeting. Currently, the Board of Trustees can discuss and vote on executive compensation with little information revealed to the public before the day of the vote.  “We would like to see greater public accountability and transparency of the Board of Trustees and see that they prioritize students over executive compensation,” said Eagan.