CFA to Trustees: Protect our students, fight for more funding!

CFA leaders didn’t mince any words this week, telling the CSU Board of Trustees that they failed the university system by not fighting harder for funding for the 2017-18 year and not doing more to protect undocumented students.

In his May Revise to the budget, Gov. Jerry Brown took $4 million out of the CSU augmentation, stating that because Trustees had already decided to raise student fees, it would mean the state would have to pay more for Cal Grants.

“The faculty have and will continue to fight for additional funding,” CFA President Jennifer Eagan said. “We want you to know, as we move into the next budget cycle, that you cannot continually remove the pressure from the governor to take responsibility for a great public university by squeezing the students.”

“You need to stand firm—and stand with all of us—to demand that the state that benefits so greatly from the work we all do has to step up and fully fund the CSU,” Eagan said.

Faculty also relayed the real implications of bad decisions—the very real toll it can have on students.

Cal State LA Professor Molly Talcott told Trustees that Claudia Rueda, a student and immigration rights activist on her campus, was DACA-eligible but couldn’t come up with the $500 needed to apply due to soaring tuition costs.

On Thursday, May 18, Rueda was detained by border patrol while she moved her family’s car outside their East Los Angeles home.

“As the saying goes, voting has consequences, and something I urge you to reflect on as we move forward as advocates for the students and public higher education,” Talcott said. “And yes, my voice is shaking because our hearts are smashed at Cal State LA, and the removal of a wonderful student from our campus and community is devastating.”

CFA issued a statement calling for Trustees to take action to support undocumented students and ensure free speech remains protected on campuses throughout California.

Trustees were also urged to support Assembly Bill 21, authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, which would protect undocumented students in the CSU and the state’s community colleges. The bill is sponsored by CFA.

CFA activists also communicated concerns to Trustees about the state auditor’s report, the need to support legislation that would increase tenure density, and problems that would be triggered by changes to Title V.

The change proposed would eliminate the 40-unit upper division course requirement, resulting in less in-depth, writing-intensive courses, less funding for programs that have smaller numbers of majors, and less time spent completing degrees in the CSU.

“This is expansion of a bad idea,” said Professor Cecil Canton, Associate VP of Affirmative Action for CFA. “This generation of students have already been cheated enough in the education they receive from the CSU; this is just one more avenue to a cheapened degree from the People’s University.”