Striking for Love

In just 20 days, CSU faculty will march on picket lines on all 23 campuses, an historic effort that would be the largest strike in U.S. higher education history.

While faculty are striking over salary disputes with CSU management — we’re fighting for a 5% salary increase for all faculty — we are also striking for love, CFA leaders point out.

As Union President Jennifer Eagan, a Professor at Cal State East Bay, recently told a crowd of faculty gathered at CFA’s Equity Conference, faculty love the CSU, but “I don’t want to sustain the CSU as it is now, and I don’t want to preserve a CSU if it mistreats its faculty and puts our students and quality public higher education last.”

“I’m striking for love,” Eagan said. “I’m striking for love of my colleagues and their families who are struggling to make ends meet. For the love of my students, who are getting less than they used to get and paying more than ever in student tuition and fees. And I’m striking for the CSU itself.”

That sentiment, which CFA East Bay Chapter President Nick Baham articulated in an editorial for the campus newspaper The Pioneer, is echoed among many faculty, who every day give their all to their students.

As Baham wrote in the editorial, “Both of my parents were graduates of San Francisco State University and the education that they earned in the CSU system afforded my family a stable middle-class life. I must strike because I love my students and am committed to the mission of the CSU.

“I love working for the People’s University. For me, it is the culmination of all my training and hard work through graduate school. I believe in the CSU’s stated mission to give every student access to a world-class education. I believe that this mission is best carried out by professionals in the classroom and not inside of executive boardrooms.

“I know all too well the financial pressures that our students are facing. So many are holding multiple jobs in order to pay for tuition and other fee increases. There are students living in their cars on this campus and there are students facing food insecurity, walking around the campus hungry with little more than a couple of dollars in their pockets. Every single budget crisis that we have experienced in the state of California has been shouldered by faculty and students.”

For too long, faculty and their families have been sacrificing at the expense of CSU management’s bad decisions. But faculty shouldn’t have to choose between students and their families.

If you have already committed to strike, thank you. For those who haven’t yet, click here to pledge to honor the strike today.

Top: Denise Dawkins, a Nursing Lecturer at CSU Bakersfield and her students. Bottom: Ann Strahm, Associate Professor of Sociology at CSU Stanislaus with student Michelle Morales, who is now in law school.