More at the CSU Trustees meeting this week

Find links to complete comments of speakers cited below on the CFA web site.

A MORAL IMPERATIVE: Cecil Canton, CFA Associate VP-Affirmative Action who teaches Criminal Justice, spoke about a CFA letter to the Trustees, Chancellor and campus presidents saying the CSU needs its leaders to show greater strength in the face of racism, hate and bigotry surfacing on campuses. Calling on them to set aside fear of lawsuits or criticism, he said “You need to say what it is that is actually undermining our democracy and that is threatening the people who are the most defenseless in this country.” Student Maggie White in her report from the California State Student Association said of the threat to undocumented students, “We will not stop talking about this” until all CSU students are safe. In plenary, the CSU Trustees adopted a resolution calling for a legislative solution for Dreamer students.

CSU BUDGET REQUEST FOR 2018/19 SENT TO GOVERNOR: As it must do every November, the Trustees approved a request to the governor’s office for an increase in state funding for the CSU to be included in the 2018/19 state budget. They asked for a $283 million increase The Trustees discussed the possibility of a tuition increase but no proposal was made at this meeting; students gave public comment opposing the idea. After the meeting, CFA Secretary Kevin Wehr noted that CFA must work hard to convince the governor to fund fully the Trustees’ request. “And we hope the Trustees will work just as hard as we do to get the funding needed for our People’s University.”

SHORTAGE OF COUNSELING SERVICES: As the CSU relies more heavily on hiring part-time, temporary mental health counselors, student access to counseling services is seriously restricted. Martha Cuan, a counselor in a temporary position at CSU Stanislaus (in photo), warned Trustees that counselors are leaving due to excessive workloads, inadequate pay, and concern over personal liability for the terms on which they are being asked to work. She noted the need is growing as deportation threats and wildfire dangers add to student worries. She said the CFA Counselors Committee calls on Trustees to do better. Learn more in a Counselors’ Special Report in the Fall 2017 California Faculty magazine.

TENURE DENSITY: CFA Associate VP-South Molly Talcott took on the persistent insistence by campus managements to hire nearly all new faculty into Lecturer positions rather than onto the tenure-line. Noting the Trustees ongoing debate over how to support student success and ensure timely graduation, Talcott said, “Look, there’s no mystery here to be solved.” She said everyone in the room knows the foundation of student success is fully funding instruction, and “that means hiring a stable, tenure-line faculty workforce who can mentor students, who can guide them and write letters for them, and go the extra mile, as we do.” She called on Trustees to get serious about faculty hiring practices.

ETHNIC STUDIES IN THE CSU: At legislative hearings over the past year, faculty in CSU Ethnic Studies departments and programs testified about the lack of adequate resources to sustain their programs despite the outstanding work their programs do on campuses and in communities to make a real difference in the lives of students. CFA leader Kim Geron told Trustees about these hearings and called on them to urge the Chancellor to implement 10 recommendations from the Ethnic Studies Task Force Report to the Trustees made in January 2016. Further, Geron pointed out, “Many in Ethnic Studies feel threatened by the latest Executive Orders that, instead of announcing new initiatives to support Ethnic Studies seem to be another effort by administration to weaken the programs and implement poorly conceived ideas.”

STUDENT FEES & TUITION: CFA Associate VP-North Rafael Gómez spoke against the persistent increases in CSU campus-based fees that students pay on top of tuition. At his own CSU Monterey Bay campus, these fees add $394 to student costs this year. Students, including some from Students of Quality Education, told Trustees that tuition and fee increases cause students to drop out. “You cannot turn to students as your first instinct,” said Rebecca Hesgard, an SQE member and student from CSU Fullerton, who in public comment, called on Trustees to work harder with the governor to get the funds the CSU needs.