Chancellor White draws ire at two campus forums

While some of Chancellor Tim White’s beloved phrases— “We have to live within our means” among them—were used yet again during campus forums at Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Fullerton last week, he also was forced to answer tough questions from faculty and students.

At Cal State Fullerton, the Feb. 16 forum drew about 300 faculty, students and staff, including dozens of CFA activists bearing picket signs and banners.

Amid White’s long-winded response to a question by CFA Chapter President Michele Barr regarding funding faculty salary increases, White acknowledged that faculty do have the right to engage in a strike “if” they need to.

“We will,” Barr countered. When White asked if faculty would really srike, there was a resounding “YES!”

At Cal Poly Pomona Feb. 18, White’s forum was mocked by CFA as a “dog-and-pony” show, and White made a cutting remark in response to a faculty member who asked why her husband, who works at UC Riverside, earns more than she does. She told the Chancellor that she couldn’t afford to live on her salary alone. White, according to several people who attended the event, said it was because the UCs are research institutions and implied that CSU faculty are lower paid because they are unionized.

CFA President Jennifer Eagan, who attended the event, noted, “I don’t think most CSU faculty think that teaching is inherently less valuable than research or that they are naturally second class when compared to UC faculty, but now we know that’s how our Chancellor sees it. He is also mistakenly discounting all of the research that shows that unions drive wages up, not down. This is another example of how he doesn’t respect the CSU as a unionized public agency.”

CFA Chapter President Dorothy Wills said CFA members were told not to make any statements, “which means White doesn’t want to listen.”

“People were pretty infuriated,” Wills said. “The other higher education institutions to which we compare ourselves in California have all managed to give their faculty raises. Why don’t we have their managers? Our managers apparently can only manage to buy new technology, pay their executives more than they need to live on and hire more overpaid managers. Faculty are at the bottom of their list.”