With 36 Days Until Potential Strike, Faculty Blast Chancellor White for Lack of Leadership in Resolving Contract Dispute

At Cal State U Trustees Meeting, Faculty Blame Chancellor, Call for Board to Stop Allowing Chancellor to Duck Accountability for Current Impasse
March 8, 2016

Long Beach, CA — Leaders and members of the California Faculty Association (CFA) spoke out at the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees’ meeting today, the last Trustees meeting before CSU faculty will go on strike, assuming no contract agreement is reached April 13 when the strike is to begin.  The faculty who spoke out at the Board meeting blasted Chancellor White for showing no leadership in ending the contract negotiations that have been going on since 2014.

CFA President Jennifer Eagan, a professor at CSU East Bay, said:

I have one question, what are you doing to avert this strike? I have been doing everything I can to reach out and persuade you to make labor peace. We have reached out with you to meet with us to engage in dialogue about the situation of the faculty and the students, and why what’s happening to the faculty should be your first and most urgent priority.

Chancellor White, you are the leader of the system, so this is on you.  The maintenance on your house has languished for a long time with stagnant and uneven salaries, an increasing dependence on a precarious faculty workforce, and inattention to how faculty are treated affects students.  This inattention predates the recession, and certainly predates your position as Chancellor.  However, it’s your house now. Your house is on fire, please pay attention.  Stop pulling the covers over your head and ignoring the red shirts and the anger you face in every encounter with faculty.

CSU faculty are slated to go on strike for five days in the Fight for Five, a drive among the faculty to receive a 5% pay increase after a decade of stagnant pay.  It will be the largest academic strike of four-year college faculty in U.S. history.

Lillian Taiz, former CFA President and Chair of CFA’s Political Action Committee added:

When our Chancellor suggests that he cannot be held accountable (or cannot put the “toothpaste back in the tube”) because some economic decisions did not happen “on his watch” people get furious.  As the Chancellor of this system today you must take responsibility to correct the inequities that plague our system NOW. You may not ask us for patience. You and those who came before you have exhausted our patience.

Chancellor Timothy White, who reports to each CSU Trustees meeting, has been touring CSU campuses, where he has been met by frustrated faculty and students.  Kevin Wehr, a Professor of Sociology at CSU Sacramento and Chair of the Bargaining Team for CFA stated:

Chancellor White, in your talks on campuses lately you have said that you have removed yourself from the bargaining process and respect the professionals involved… It is time, Chancellor White, that you no longer remove yourself from this process and actually give direction to your staff to avoid this strike.

Jonathan Karpf, a Lecturer in Anthropology at San Jose State University and Associate VP Lecturers North, said to the Chancellor

You have the ability to have your team come back to the table and settle this salary dispute and avoid the largest and longest-running strike in higher education in the history of the U.S. But that would take true leadership.

If you refuse to negotiate in good faith, I promise you that the Lecturers in the CSU will be standing side-by-side with our tenure-track colleagues on April 13th and will be shutting down business as usual on all 23 campuses. We don’t want to strike, but we will.

The faculty of the 450,000-student public university system will strike at all 23 CSU campuses on April 13-15 and April 18-19 if no agreement is reached. Negotiations are in the final “fact-finding” phase of the statutory process spelled out in state labor law. If no settlement is reached when the fact-finder’s final report becomes public, the statutory process will be over, and CSU faculty will be free to strike.

Cecil Canton, Professor of Criminal Justice at Sac State and Associate Vice president and Chair of the California Faculty Association’s Council For Affirmative Action added:

Last week in a forum at San Diego State, Chancellor Timothy White said that he sees a ‘train wreck’ ahead.  Members of the Board of Trustees, the train wreck is already upon us.

And it is the students who suffer from YOUR failure to see that it is YOU who have caused it. Even though students are paying more than ever in tuition, they are getting less for their education. A vast body of research underscores the importance of faculty-student interaction as significant to student academic success.

That means that students need MORE Full-Time faculty, not fewer, in order to graduate and help derail the train wreck to which the Chancellor refers.

ABOUT THE FIGHT FOR FIVE: CFA’s Fight for Five calls for 5% salary increases for all faculty and Service Step Increases for those still moving through the pay ladder. The steps have been frozen for years, effectively eliminating the salary structure for faculty in the CSU.

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION: CFA represents some 26,000 tenured and tenure-track instructional faculty, lecturers who teach on temporary contracts, librarians, counselors, and coaches on the 23 campuses of the California State University system, from Humboldt State in the north, to San Diego State in the south. 

Learn more about CFA at  / Learn about the Fight for Five at or #CFAFightFor5 and #FightFor5