A group of people listening to a person speak.
Kim Archuletta speaks to then-President Elliot Hirshman of San Diego State during CFA’s 2014 contract bargaining campaign.

With the heaviest heart, we announce the passing of Kim Archuletta on February 20, after a battle with cancer.

Archuletta was a long-time CFA activist and leader of the CFA San Diego chapter. A lecturer faculty member in the San Diego State School of Social until her early retirement a few years ago, Archuletta’s work with CFA serves as a model of commitment to faculty rights, union collective effort to achieve progress that benefits all of us, and a steadfast understanding that we all must do more than talk the talk: we must be involved and take active roles as CFA members.

CFA is our union.

Archuletta’s work and responsibility as a union member at SDSU and statewide is simply outstanding. She served in so many capacities at the chapter level. As a member of the CFA San Diego Executive Board, Archuletta served as lecturer representative, co-lecturer representative, treasurer, and faculty rights chair. She was one of the chapter’s media spokespersons on many campaigns.

Over the years during informational pickets, rallies, campus marches, Archuletta would often be the leader of chants, have the bullhorn, and rouse faculty enthusiasm for whatever the issue. In the Fight for Five Campaign, Archuletta was a fearless leader, taking on several areas of responsibility in preparing our faculty for strike action. As lecturer representative, she organized and presented at monthly lecturer luncheons and meetings, where she demonstrated her expert understanding of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, especially the articles important to lecturer rights. She was the best at recruiting non-members from all ranks and classifications because she knew how to talk to faculty about CFA in a way that non-members could readily see why being a member was important to them, to students, and to the university.

“Kim was a major part of all my experiences as CFA San Deigo Chapter President. I leaned on her for her guidance, wisdom, her extraordinary leadership,” said CFA President Charles Toombs. “We were a team. We traveled to countless statewide meetings, where Kim was active with the Lecturers’ Council, Womxn’s Caucus, Racial & Social Justice Council, and others. During many statewide breakfast meetings, we worked together and strategized on new information we learned and how to use it at the chapter level.

“I recall an AAUP Summer Institute meeting at the University of Washington,” Toombs continued. “After a long day of meetings, CFA folks were taking a boat ride to a Seattle-area island for dinner. I remember telling Kim I was so hungry. They were selling popcorn on the boat, and, before I knew it, she bought me a big bag to tide me over until dinner. Loving, kind, thoughtful that was my friend and colleague Kim Archuletta. Because I will never forget her, she will always be a part of my life.”

Mernie Aste, a CFA San Diego lecturer representative, recalled Archuletta as a “brilliant, kind, funny, loyal, patient, a great mom, friend, and a person of integrity.”

“I enjoyed her company because she always kept things in balance and acknowledged other people’s perspectives and lived experiences. Most of all she had a sense of humor that kept things manageable. Kim mentored me in my early days of CFA activism and I’m grateful to have known her. I miss her and CFA misses her,” Aste said.

Archuletta’s unwavering empathy is what CFA Associate Vice President for Lecturers, North, Meghan O’Donnell will remember most.

“Kim seemed to always be focused on working with people who were struggling … people who needed help … whether that was through her teaching or her social work, her focus on helping people with substance abuse issues, or her dedication to being a lecturer rep and union advocate for the most marginalized in academia,” O’Donnell said. “She was a fiercely caring person who shared her enormous heart with everyone that needed it.” 

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