Magazine Article

With the Contract Settled, it’s Time to Get Political
President’s Column

By Lillian Taiz
President, California Faculty Association
History, Cal State Los Angeles

Dear Colleagues,

As I often tell our members—in CFA-land there seems to be no time off when it comes to standing up for the CSU, our students and for one another.

All through the summer we fought for a fair contract until, finally, on July 27 we reached a tentative agreement. CFA’s officers and Bargaining Team members firmly believe it is the best possible agreement we could reach. CFA members agreed and ratified it with a
resounding 91% yes vote early in September.

Even as we completed this monumental task, we began mapping out our plans for an election this fall that promises to determine our university’s future.

Our Strength

Years of experience show that every time we fight for our students, for our system and for each other, we get stronger as a union.

This has been especially true during these past two years. In greater numbers than ever before faculty participated in this important struggle to protect public higher education in the CSU.

Like veteran warriors, we are now savvier and better prepared than ever to move on to our next challenges—ensuring that our contract is implemented fairly, fighting against the profiteers and privatizers, and making clear to everyone that we will not accept budget-cutting priorities that make students, faculty and staff into sacrificial lambs.

No matter what the outcome of the November election, we must make sure that the university’s leaders make the right choices when determining how to spend the university’s scarce dollars.

New Chancellor

Most of you are aware that Chancellor Charles Reed announced his retirement late last spring.

I want to thank those of you who contributed your views in CFA’s survey of qualities the faculty are looking for in the next chancellor. No matter what characteristics people listed, without exception respondents stressed the importance of having an open search process.

Many recalled that the last two CSU chancellor searches took place behind closed doors with no input from the campus community.

Without a doubt, this secretive process affected the relationship our most
recent chancellor was able to establish with faculty, students and staff.

We are not alone in this assessment. News editorials have called for transparency and the state legislature expressed support for openness in this critically important hiring process when it adopted an Assembly resolution (ACR164-Pan) to that effect.

All of us look forward to a more collaborative relationship with the next chancellor.

Faculty in the state Capitol

This November is filled with opportunities that will allow us to use our strength to improve prospects for our university and for our state.

This November marks a historic first for CFA in a very tangible way — we will have the chance to elect more university faculty, and more specifically, CSU faculty to seats in the California State Legislature than ever before.

Many of you who have joined us lobbying in Sacramento know that it takes many conversations to educate elected leaders about the issues that are critical to providing quality, public higher education in California.

Six- and eight-year term limits have not allowed us to develop enduring relationships with people who know our issues inside and out. This November, we have the unique opportunity to elect six faculty members (four from the CSU) who will bring a new depth of understanding about public higher education to the Capitol.

Each of these faculty/legislators could serve as many as 12 years. We hope that many of them will join Dr. Richard Pan (a UC Davis faculty member in the state Assembly) and Assembly Speaker John Pérez as champions for public higher education.

If we are able to help these colleagues win on November 6, we increase the possibility that our voices and the needs of quality public higher education will get the attention they deserve.

Propositions 30 and 32

Finally there is another urgent task at hand – to pass Proposition 30 and defeat Proposition 32. This magazine has extensive coverage of what these propositions mean for the CSU, good and bad. I urge you to read the material carefully, help people register to vote and work to make sure they show up on election day.

As you read through the California Faculty magazine you will find many reasons to care about this election. In many ways it will determine our future. Will we have the resources we need to provide quality public higher education? Or will we give up on our students, our system and our state? Will we have the resources to fight back against attempts to privatize the university? Or will we find ourselves silenced and cut out of the political process entirely?

I want to congratulate you for all you have done to achieve a fair contract, and invite you to continue this work along with all of our CFA colleagues. The challenges are great but working together we have always won for our students, our system, and for the people of California.