Faculty, students to Trustees: Support legislation that would help, not harm

MARCH 2017—While the big decision over whether to increase student tuition loomed over the second day of the CSU Trustees meeting in Long Beach, faculty and students on Tuesday spoke about the need to support key legislation to members of the Committee on Governmental Relations.

Specifically, faculty and students urged Trustees to support AB 393, AB 1464, and AB 21. The bills are sponsored by CFA.

  • AB 393 is authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and would freeze tuition in the CSU and the state’s community colleges until 2020.
  • AB 21, introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, would direct public colleges and universities to enact protections for undocumented students.
  • AB 1464, authored by Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, would place in statute a plan to increase density in the CSU to 75 percent tenured and tenure-track faculty by 2025.

Faculty also urged Trustees to work with CFA to lobby Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature for more CSU funding this fiscal year.

“We need solutions to sustain the CSU long term, and break the cycle that squeezes the CSU budget and encourages a continued reliance on students and their families footing the bill,” said CFA President Jennifer Eagan. “This is a mode of privatization, transferring the scarce private resources of our students and their families to fund a public good that all of California benefits from. It is simply not fair.  Instead of a voting to increase student fees, we need creative solutions to restore what is promised in the Master Plan, and I’m confident that we can do it if we work together.”

Maria Garcia, a Sociology and Chicanx student at CSU Chico, told Trustees that last semester, she and her roommate lost their housing, and the stress of that combined with depression has taken a massive toll.

She sought help from school counselors, but there was an influx of students seeking treatments. Medi-Cal denied treatment due to insufficient coverage for mental health. Thankfully, the psychiatrist at the Student Health Center took her in because it was an ‘at-risk’ situation, she said.

She has found a new home thanks to a network of family, friends and faculty, but it’s been a difficult journey.“I struggle to maintain self-care, keep up with school as a full-time student, and juggle two jobs that help me to afford a roof over my head and stay in school,” Garcia said. “It’s always painful to ask for financial support from my family knowing that they can barely afford their expenses.”

“I am one of thousands of CSU students who struggle with mental health issues, who work more than one job to afford school, who are full-time students, who come from poverty, who are students of color who feel unsafe, for themselves and their families, everywhere they go because of Trump’s presidency, who fear deportation and/or come from mixed-status families, who have or are still experiencing homelessness and the trauma that comes with it, who are first-generation college students, and who are obtaining an education to provide stability and a better quality of life for their families,” Garcia said.

Photo: Maria Garcia, a Chico State student, gets a hug from CFA Treasurer Susan Green, who teaches at Chico State while Jonathan Karpf, CFA Associate VP of Lecturers-North, waits to speak to Trustees.