Members Gear Up for Bargaining, Building Faculty Power at CFA’s 90th Assembly

CFA members gathered for a three-day weekend packed with meetings of caucuses, committees, and councils; interactive workshops; and time to re-connect with peers from around the state while gearing up for the upcoming bargaining campaign.

Woven throughout the weekend’s activities was a call from CFA President Charles Toombs to, “step outside our comfort zones, build our union by engaging with members on our campuses and recruiting new ones, and to get ready to roll up our sleeves to do the work we will need to do in the coming months!” 

On Saturday, all members were invited to attend workshops. One workshop focused on student loans, debt, and faculty labor led by Daniel Kirsch (CSU Sacramento), Jennifer Eagan (CSU East Bay), and Nichelle Henderson (CSU Los Angeles). The workshop aimed to begin destigmatizing faculty’s own student loan burdens by discussing the intersections between faculty debt and student loans. Participants shared their own stories and found that across the two sessions, about 45 faculty collectively held more than $2 million in student loan debt. In addition to addressing the scale and scope of the problem, presenters also discussed debt forgiveness programs and participants discussed ways CFA can be more engaged on these issues. View the slides here. The other workshop, led by the Membership and Organizing Committee, focused on the art of engaging and recruiting new members.

You can view a photo gallery with images from the weekend.

Delegates also passed two resolutions; one supported the port truck drivers in California and expressed solidarity with their “Our People, Our Port Coalition” and one was in response to repeated racist and hateful incidents at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Cal Poly resolution sparked a serious discussion about similar incidents occurring around the system’s 23 campuses such as racist graffiti targeting Ethnic Studies departments at East Bay, the N-word appearing at Fullerton, vandalism of the Africana Studies department at SFSU, Build the Wall events at CSU Los Angeles and subsequent targeting of faculty who opposed them.

CFA has an online form where members can report incidents of hate speech and hate crimes and members who are witness to these incidents are encouraged to submit information. While this form does not intend to replace or dissuade other reporting, CFA Officers use this information to track these events and use it to support the enforcement of our contract, defend our academic freedom rights, and prepare us for action when necessary.

Finally, the CFA Assembly recognized four former CFA officers who are retiring. Each was honored for their many years of service and tireless faculty advocacy and numerous CFA hats: David Bradfield, Andy Merrifield, Jonathan Karpf, and Rafael Gómez.

Assembly Welcomes Special Guest, Asm. Dr Shirley Weber

 The CFA Assembly delegates were delighted to hear directly from the author of AB 1460, the legislation that would make ethnic studies a CSU requirement, Dr. Shirley Weber. 

Assemblymember Weber, a longtime, card carrying member of CFA, gave an impressive speech from her home in San Diego, joining the delegates by videoconference when her train was unexpectedly cancelled. 

In her remarks, the Assemblymember explained how CFA efforts were crucial in the historical signing of the landmark legislation to restrict when police may use lethal force (AB 392). She also focused on the importance of CFA members’ advocacy regarding the CSU ethnic studies requirement. In reacting to Weber’s remarks, CFA Associate Vice President Sharon Elise commented, “We were inspired by Shirley Weber’s remarks that reveal how she draws from expertise in Africana Studies and knowledge of CSU faculty and students, coupled with her courageous and visionary leadership to advocate for the CSU, for Ethnic Studies, and for racial and social justice.” 

Dr. Weber represents the 79th district of the California State Assembly and is a professor emeritus at San Diego State University.