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Over 1000 Rally at State Capitol for Increased State Funding for the California State University
NEWS FROM THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION

April 4, 2018

  • Faculty and students were joined by CSU Chancellor White, CSU Trustees & top legislative leaders who called on Governor to propose better support for CSU in May Revise
  • Participants in CFA rally say: ‘With huge surplus, this is the time California must reinvest in our public California State University’

SACRAMENTO—Over 1,000 California State University students and faculty from the 23 public university campuses and their supporters came out in force today at the State Capitol to send a message to Governor Brown—It’s time to restore California’s investment in our critical public higher education system.

The day began at 6:30 am when 100 students from Southern California CSU campuses held an early morning picket line sponsored by Students for Quality Education outside Governor Jerry Brown’s mansion, a few blocks from the Capitol. They chanted “Stop the fees” against the threat of another tuition hike if the Governor’s budget plan holds, and “Free the CSU, Fund the Dream.”

CFA President Jennifer Eagan noted a student’s hand-made sign that read “@Baby Boomers—Must be nice to have had free higher education.” Eagan told reporters, “We owe students today what students got in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The future of the state rests on them.”

A few hours later, more buses and carloads of faculty and students arrived at the North Capitol steps for a mid-day rally sponsored by the California Faculty Association. CFA leaders, CSU representatives, students, and state legislators all called for CSU funding to be a top priority in state budget negotiations now taking shape for 2018-19.

“I am here to say we have to stop tuition raises and to tell the Governor we need to fully fund the CSU,” Assembly member Jose Medina told the crowd. Medina, who chairs the Assembly Higher Education Committee, “How short-sighted it would be not to.”

State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who graduated and taught in the CSU system before being elected to office endorsed that saying, “I know first-hand how important the CSU is,” and said keeping the CSU affordable and accessible to Californians are “huge issues for the state legislature.”

Likewise, State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins promised, “We will do everything we can” and added, “Continue to make your voices heard.”

California State University leaders addressed the rally. CSU Chancellor Timothy White said, “I join the chorus of voices calling on our elected allies in Sacramento – whose districts are full of CSU students, employees and alumni – to place our budget request at the top of their priorities during budget negotiations.”

CSU Trustees President Rebecca Eisen reflected on the responsibility of Trustees “who are entrusted with the care” of the CSU, and CSU Trustee Lateefah Simon told the crowd, “Education should be free.” Of the chances to win the needed CSU funding, Simon said, “We have decision-makers who are ready, and if they are not, we’re going to get them ready.”

Over the past five years, the CSU has turned away an average of 30,500 qualified students, showing that the CSU and the state have failed to keep up with the demand due to budget constraints. Since 2013, the number of students being turned away each year has increased from 26,430 to 32,223 in 2017.  Without a dramatic change in funding policy, many more students are likely to be excluded in the future. Research shows that California’s economy will suffer if more Californians do not get college degrees.

In her rally remarks, CFA President Jennifer Eagan pointed to the slogan of the day, “Free the CSU.” She said, “Let’s make the freedom the CSU provides accessible to everyone willing to work towards that dream. Let’s fund the Dream! Let’s get our students free to learn and live and love in exactly the way that want to. Let’s free the CSU!”

Going forward, California State University faculty, students, and supporters will continue to lobby the state legislature and Governor through the May Revise, when the governor adjusts his budget plan, and until final budget decisions are made.

In January, the Governor announced his proposed 2018-19 state budget with a mere $92.1 million in additional funding for the CSU. That is half the rate of inflation, and would not help the CSU recover from past cuts.

CFA has called publicly for a $422.6 million increase, which amounts to less than 7% of the CSU’s total 2017-18 operating budget. The additional funds would increase access to the CSU for an additional 18,205 qualified students.

Since January, the legislature has held hearings on public higher education funding. CFA leaders and CSU students testified on the need to increase funding so the CSU can improve enrollment growth and help stave off yet another tuition increase.

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION: CFA represents more than 28,000 tenure-line instructional faculty, lecturers, 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 calfac.org and visit our Facebook page.

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