CFA Equity Conference informs, inspires hundreds

A record number of faculty gathered in Los Angeles March 7-8 to learn more about the union’s journey to a more accessible and equitable CSU for all students, faculty and staff.

More than 160 people attended the two-day conference, the seventh hosted by CFA, which featured workshops by CFA’s caucuses, as well keynote speaker Jackson Potter, staff coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union and Assemblymember Shirley Weber, a longtime faculty member from SDSU.

In a fascinating discussion of the Chicago teachers’ strike, the first strike of city teachers in 25 years, Potter noted that students and their families supported the struggle because social justice issues were so central to the fight.

“We got to go beyond bread and butter and engage members and the broader public in critical discussions and debates of racial and economic justice issues,” he said.

CFA President Lillian Taiz noted that CFA has grappled with issues of equity within the union, and within the CSU. The union has taken up issues in national education initiatives, in efforts to privatize the university, in attempts to push online higher ed and within the faculty contract.

“This is a journey that is unlikely to end any time soon,” she said. “We as a union have many challenges ahead of us. And, as I remind myself all the time, we must be brave enough to keep moving and changing.”

CFA stood in solidarity with Ethnic Studies faculty throughout the state when campus administrators moved to merge or eliminate programs, supported legislation requiring reporting of the Early Start Program’s outcomes, and continues to push for wage equity in the contract and highlight the cultural taxation many faculty of color face.

A workshop hosted by CFA’s African American Caucus, which featured Dr. Shirley Weber, Assemblymember and former CSU faculty member, drew 80 people who jammed a conference room to listen to a discussion about strengthening Africana/Black/African American Studies programs. 

Reducing or eliminating such programs should not be allowed, Weber said.

“When you want to conquer a people, you destroy their knowledge of self,” she said.

CFA research on equity and diversity in the CSU, also was presented during the conference. To download the report as a PDF, click here.

To see photos from CFA’s Equity Conference, click here.