CFA says Trustees must step up fight for needed CSU funding from governor, legislature

CFA followed up this week on a January 4 open letter to the Chancellor by telling CSU Trustees at their Jan. 30 meeting it is time to step up meaningful pressure on the legislature and governor. It’s the one way the CSU can get the funds it really needs to live up to its mission.

Addressing the Trustees’ Finance Committee, CFA Political Action & Legislation Chair Lillian Taiz called on Trustees and the Chancellor to try something different.

She said, “The report prepared for this committee could be lifted from almost any January meeting—that if we didn’t get the amount we asked for, we ask for more, but if they don’t give it to us, we dig more deeply into students’ pockets or cut programs. Each time, the result has been the same. Tuition increased and programs were cut or starved.”

Taiz challenged the notion, expressed in Chancellor White’s 2018 State of the CSU speech, that the time has passed for a no-tuition model in the public university. “We hope that all of us in this room want today’s diverse student body to enjoy the same quality learning conditions enjoyed by white students in 1985,” she said. “It is their civil right.”

Stand Up? Fight Back?

Despite his doubts, White did call for action in his speech, saying, “With all due respect, I will say to elected leaders the moment to properly invest in the CSU is overdue,” and “it’s imperative to invest now…to fuel tomorrow.”

And in talking about 2018, he predicted: “There would be a fight, a fight for resources, for our values and our university as the most diverse and inclusive and consequential university in the nation.”

Taiz said, “I am encouraged to hear the chancellor use the “f” word—”fight back”—because what we need now is all hands on deck and a robust effort to persuade the legislature and the governor to increase our allocation.”

Taiz told the Finance Committee, “If we limit our activity to walking politely through the halls of the Capitol, quietly knocking on doors, we won’t succeed. Dramatic demonstration of the needs of the system will make us more visible and more of a priority in the legislature.”

CFA Secretary Kevin Wehr followed up with comments to the Trustees’ Government Relations Committee, pointing out that nowhere on the agenda was there discussion of a plan to advocate for more CSU funding from the legislature or governor.

Wehr said CFA is “calling for a more aggressive budgetary request and an action plan by the CSU administration.” He added, “It is time to get serious, clean up your house, and take a strong stand on behalf of our students and those who wish to be our students…. There is no ‘try.’ There is only ‘do.’”

In discussion, some Trustees on the Government Relations Committee entertained the idea of going to Sacramento to speak with legislators about CSU funding. See more in news reports in “Links of the Week.”

PHOTOS: (Top) A powerpoint displayed at the Trustees’ Finance Committee meeting directed the Board to pursue tuition increases and class cuts as their alternative to inadequate funding from the state. (Below, left) CFA member Kim Geron suggested at the Trustees’ plenary on Jan. 31 that it is time to “think outside the box” and wage a campaign with “all the media and visibility we can muster” to find more revenue. (Below, right) Lillian Taiz and Kevin Wehr with Faculty Trustee Romey Sabalius in middle.