CFA to lawmakers: Counseling services need critical support

CFA submitted information to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Tuesday about counseling services in the CSU and the critical need to hire more full-time, tenure-line counselors for the system’s 23 campuses.

While the International Association of Counseling Services recommends a maximum ratio of 1,500 students for each full-time equivalent counselor on campus, only three of the 23 campuses meet that standard. At Cal State LA, there are only 7.5 full-time counseling positions for over 27,000 students; at CSU Sacramento, there are 11 positions for more than 30,000 students.

Kevin Wehr, CFA’s Associate VP North and Secretary-elect, said the situation has been a concern of his for more than a decade. Between 2007 and 2011, there was a 100 percent turnover when tenured and tenure-track faculty quit in protest over working conditions. They were replaced with temporary counselors who are paid less and have fewer rights.

“These faculty directly help our students, from suicide prevention and mental health therapy to counseling our gay, lesbian, and transgender students,” he said. “The ratios of counselors to students is out of control in the CSU, and we need the Legislature to understand the critical need for these types of services in our university system. They literally save lives, yet aren’t being treated with the respect they have earned in their years of service.

“This, too, speaks to the need for the governor and Legislature to reinvest in the People’s University and fully fund the $325 million requested by the CSU. The investment in the short-term will have far-reaching impact in the long term.”

Click here to read the fact sheet on counseling in the CSU that was submitted to the Budget Committee.