CFA heads back to State Capitol to keep up the heat for CSU funding, important bills

CFA members from all 23 CSU campuses and members of Students for Quality Education will return to the State Capitol next week to keep up momentum for more CSU funding as well as for key legislation.

During CFA Lobby Days on April 30 and May 1, delegations will meet with state Assemblymembers and Senators on CFA’s 2018 Legislative Agenda and provide helpful data in support of important budget language.

The faculty and student “lobbyists” will call for passage of SB 968, among other bills. SB 968 would to increase the ratio of tenure-line mental health counselors to students on CSU campuses.

There are far too few counselors for the increasing numbers of CSU students, resulting in long wait times for students to get help. The shortage compounds the anxiety produced not only by the normal stresses of college life, but also by financial pressures that lead students to work far more than the recommended hours, and, in the case of the 72% of the CSU student body who are students of color, by racist incidents on and near campuses.

The stress has been mounting on everyone—students, the counselors trying to help them, and other faculty members whose students need the help.

“We were at a public hearing on SB 968 this morning, and it made us hopeful to hear the concern on the part of lawmakers about this critical shortage of mental health care on our campuses,” said Mimi Bommersbach, chair of CFA’s Counselors Committee.

“We are deeply grateful for the support of so many CFA colleagues who will be in Sacramento next week lobbying for CFA-sponsored bills, including one for a better-staffed mental health care system for our students,” she said.

Of course, CFA Lobby Day delegations will make state funding for the CSU an essential part of the conversation. In addition to pressing for much more than Governor Brown has proposed, they will argue for language in the budget specifying that $50 million of the allocation be dedicated to increasing the proportion of tenure-line faculty in the CSU.

PHOTO: Mimi Bommersbach, chair of CFA’s Counselors Committee, testified this morning at a hearing of the Senate Education Committee to argue for more mental health counselors for students. The bill, SB 968 passed unanimously out of the committee. On CFA Lobby Days, participants will explain the bill to their respective legislators. Photo by Aimee Shreck.