What do we do with our peacetime?
Lay a foundation for cooperation, now and in the future, to advance the California State University

Remarks to California State University Board of Trustees, September 20, 2016

by Jennifer Eagan, Professor, Philosophy and Public Policy & Administration, CSU East Bay
President, California Faculty Association

Good morning, I’m Jennifer Eagan, President of the California Faculty Association. I’m also a Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy & Administration at Cal State East Bay.

We have one academic year between our contracts, What do we do with our peacetime? The point of peacetime is to create more of it, and to do work that lays the foundation to resolve future conflicts.

We know those conflicts will come, but establishing relationships between now and then will help. We welcome this time and hope that the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees will work with CFA on matters that concern all of us.

First and most importantly, we absolutely need to get more money into the system from the Governor and legislature in order to keep our University public.

We hope that no one in this room has given up on the public character of the People’ University, and the state’s responsibility to fund the system. We all need to remain committed to securing public funding for the CSU.

The first and most immediate step is passing Propositon 55 so we don’t fall off a cliff again, and going forward we hope to be able to lobby together as a unified front for funding from the legislature, and even explore other dedicated sources of public funding for the CSU.

Secondly, we need to have serious conversations about academic freedom and intellectual property. 

I am hopeful that those will take place this year prior to any policy emanating from the Chancellor’s Office and that concerns for risk management, enforced codes of civility, and desires for administrative flexibility will not override your commitment to genuine shared governance processes.  

Next, we need to work together to increase tenure density and honor the work of all faculty. 

We’re at 40 percent tenure density by headcount; that’s criminal. It’s not fair to lecturer faculty or to tenure-line faculty, and it’s not fair to our students. Our lecturers are qualified and very good at what they do; the two-tier system hurts the reputation of our university and undermines our commitment to serve students.

I think that we are fundamentally in agreement about the problem, and can work together with you and with members of the Academic Senate to come up with some concrete goals and creative solutions.

Lastly, we need to have a serious discussion about how who our students are and whether or not current fads in public policy are serving them.

We are concerned that policies coming from the Governor and legislature, though well intentioned, demonstrate a misunderstanding of who CSU students are and what they need to succeed.

CSU students are hardworking people with many responsibilities who require support tailored to their real needs. This year CFA will be examining their stories and analyze whether current trends and policies really support their success.

This is a critical discussion we must have before we send too many precious dollars down a misguided rabbit hole. We invite you to be a part of this frank and important discussion of who our students are and what kinds of public policies will genuinely serve them.

Thank you.