CFA calls for CSU Trustees’ support on two bills, better responses to controversy & racism on campus

CFA President Jennifer Eagan and CFA Secretary Kevin Wehr called on the CSU Trustees at their meeting yesterday to support two bills—SB 986 for more CSU mental health counselors, and AB 2505, for greater transparency by CSU administrators in spending tax dollars.

Eagan also addressed campus presidents, who attend Trustees meetings, about recent incidents on campuses involving controversial speech at the Fresno campus, and racist behavior at San Luis Obispo.

Of the SLO incident, Eagan said to campus president Armstrong who was in the room, “Students wearing blackface may be within their rights, but that wasn’t the most important thing to say at that moment. Your first instinct seemed to be to protect the perpetrators rather than think about how Black students and other students of color would feel about the incident.”

Eagan added, “Then you denied that there is a culture of racism and seemed to chalk the incident up to a few bad apples. Our students of color know that racism exists in our society, is systemic, and impacts their lives. You should have thought about them first. This is racism, please go ahead and say it out loud.”

But Eagan did not address the SLO and Fresno presidents alone.

“I am calling out two presidents for these incidents,” she said, “but I hope that the Chancellor and all of the campus presidents will take this as a call to think about the impact of your public statements. Faculty speaking out on controversial topics and racist incidents on campuses will happen. We call on you to think about what you’ll say and do when these happen on your campus, and think about how you can protect the rights of faculty, the university as a place that generates ideas, and how you can honor the experience of students.”

On SB 968, Eagan told the Trustees, who have not voted to support the bill, “Mental health services are not luxury items like lattes and dry cleaning; they are essential for students and should be part of the graduation initiative. Not only could your support of this bill get us some much-needed counselor staff, but could also help take away the stigma that students feel when they reach out for help. Let’s make sure that that help is there for them when they reach out.”

Wehr said the AB 2505 would help get an answer to the question: “where does the money go?” He noted that there always seems to be money to hire more administrators, but funding is not available for student enrollment or for instruction in the classrooms.

See the full text of these comments to the Trustees.