East Bay faculty rally & speak out at White Forum
“Dismal Carnival” outside, chants of “Strike” inside

MARCH 2016—Some 40 faculty and student supporters warmed up for the strike with a demonstration and “Dismal Carnival” at CSU East Bay on Monday before they joined many more CFA members at a forum with Chancellor Timothy White that turned testy.

See a lively news segment by KPFA radio’s The Labor Project about the rally & forum that includes interviews with East Bay faculty members

Outside the University Union that afternoon, faculty protested the lack of agreement on salary with signs and banners calling for a 5% General Salary Increase for all faculty and Service Step Increases for those eligible. They wore their red “I Don’t Want to Strike But I Will” shirts and chanted “Two is Tiny, Mean and Slimy; Five is Cool, Enough for School.”

East Bay CFA Chapter President Nick Baham, said, “The Chancellor just doesn’t get the faculty. We are united in our fight for reasonable working conditions. We showed him a preview of what is to come in April if there isn’t a fair contract for faculty.”

Throughout the afternoon, Baham called on faculty to take a spin on the Dismal Carnival wheel, where “all the possibilities are bad,” drawn from real comments by White, including…

  • Money was allocated for other priorities.
  • CSU faculty are not worth as much as UC faculty.
  • I would only raise salaries in my last year in office.
  • I have a picture of MLK in my private study.
  • Faculty should live within their means.
  • Everyone is going to have to tighten their belts.


Inside the forum, which was restricted to about 200 people although the room held many more, faculty energetically moved to the microphones to ask questions as soon as the Chancellor wrapped up his opening.

The first question came from a Lecturer who said she did not earn enough to help pay for her mother’s recent funeral, despite teaching four classes and having a Ph.D. White replied that hiring decisions are “a campus decision,” so “I don’t understand why you are in the situation you are in.”

Faculty and students leaned on the Chancellor over low pay for faculty, crowded classes for students. White persisted in saying, as he has at previous forums, “We have to live within our means.”

A student of dance challenged White to say “What you will do to save the dance program and the arts on this campus?” to which he replied, “It is not my decision and not my job to make these decisions. That is your responsibility on this campus to decide.”

Baham remarked later, “When faculty in the room challenged the Chancellor on just about any money issue, he passed the buck to campus administrators or to elected officials. They all share responsibility for these problems but he is our $400,000 Chancellor. The buck stops with him.”

Sociology department chair, Patricia Jennings, who was the last to comment before the forum was ended, laid out the challenges of departments to hire, saying “We lose people to lesser-cost states that are higher paying.”  She challenged the “discourse of quality” while classes still get bigger, faculty are “disheartened,” and bureaucracy grows.

But time was up, though many questioners remained in line. By the end of the forum, the Chancellor had not successfully addressed how he will solve the CSU’s problems with recruiting and retaining faculty to teach students — that actual mission of the CSU. He hurriedly left the room to the sounds of faculty members chanting “Strike!”