Humboldt State faculty, students push back against threatened cuts to student instruction

Humboldt CFA Chapter President Renée Byrd took to the public-comment microphone at the CSU Trustees meeting last Wednesday to make a straightforward request: “I’m here to call on you in this room, and the entire CSU system, to help us save public higher education at Humboldt.”

The Humboldt administration has announced a budget shortfall of $9 million, and that a substantial amount must be cut from instruction.

“We are hearing of proposed solutions that actually cut at the heart of our educational system. And by that, I mean faculty time with our students,” Byrd said. She added, “There are enough attacks on public higher education without doing it to our own universities ourselves.”

Faculty on campus are organizing to protest the cuts. The CFA Chapter has initiated “Union Thursdays” when faculty can show solidarity with one another and with students by wearing red or a campaign button and voice their opposition by posting door signs. CFA members are circulating a public petition to protect instruction at Humboldt.

Students on the Humboldt campus have particular challenges, including the distance from most students’ homes making travel and attendance more expensive. A shortage of housing in the area contributes to an elevated homelessness rate, and ultimately to students abandoning their educational aspirations.

Last week, students held a walkout in protest of threatened class eliminations and staff layoffs, demanding instead that administrators cut their own pay. After a well-attended rally, students occupied the provost’s office. (video)