CFA leaders kick off AY with renewed strength, commitment to protect The People’s University

The academic year is about to get underway, but CFA activists and leaders are already hard at work building our collective strength through organizing and taking action to further protect our students and colleagues in the CSU.

Our union has taken a firm stance against the violent, racist acts committed by white supremacists and Nazis at the University of Virginia, and stand in support with the grieving community.

In a statement issued today, we call on California State University administrators to protect students, faculty, and staff with sound policies and practices.

“The CSU faculty we represent work hard to create physically safe, racially inclusive, and intellectually challenging spaces in our academic communities.  While there is always more work to do in our efforts to combat racism in all of its forms on our campuses, we will not stand by and watch what we’ve built be torn apart by those who explicitly do not share our values AND mean to do us real and demonstrable harm. 

This is a teachable moment and an opportunity for campus presidents to be leaders in modeling anti-racist behavior. This is not a time for equivocation or drawing false equivalencies between anti-racists and white supremacists. Our diverse campus communities will expect nothing less than strong principled leadership from our campus leaders. History is calling on all of us to do the right thing at this moment.”

Click here to read the full statement.

The call to action comes just days after faculty activists gathered for CFA’s Kickoff meeting in Sacramento, where we learned more about how to be smart resisters, build our membership, further infuse our union’s Anti-Racism and Social Justice Training into our work, and defend our students.

That includes standing up for DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which is under threat from the current federal administration. Since its inception five years ago, about 800,000 immigrant youth found legal protection under DACA, including 250,000 in California. As many as 30,000 have been able to attend the CSU.

On Tuesday, CFA President Jennifer Eagan and CFA Capitol Chapter President Margarita Berta-Ávila were among those who spoke in support of undocu-scholars during a news conference at Sacramento State.

CFA has been at the forefront of championing immigrant rights following the November election. Last spring, we sponsored Assembly Bill 21, legislation authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra that would further protect DACA students in the CSU. The bill passed the State Assembly, and is now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The threat to DACA is a threat to our students’ safety and their path to graduation. “That’s unacceptable,” Eagan said.

“As faculty committed to our students’ success, we’re determined not to let anyone rip their dreams away,” she said. “Governor Brown said that Trump had better not mess with California, and the faculty of the CSU are saying that Trump had better not mess with our students. Their faculty is seriously fierce and standing right behind them.”

Dr. Berta-Ávila encouraged others to continue to fight.

“Movements are successful when those who have nothing to lose stand up, speak, mobilize, and refuse to take on the role as bystander,” she said. “This, right now, advocating for DACA, is one of those moments.”