CFA members and interns with Students for Quality Education met at the capital last week to advocate with state senators and assemblymembers about our priority bills, ranging from expanding paid parental leave for CSU workers to compensating student teachers to reforming CSU “retreat” rights.
“One of the most important things we do as CFA is work with legislators to introduce bills that bring attention to the issues affecting us. Whether or not you were able to attend Lobby Days, your voices were heard and your stories shared,” said Andrea Terry, CFA Sacramento Political Action and Legislation chair and Sacramento State communication studies assistant professor. “This year, I was proud to be able to talk to legislators not only about the issues we and our students face, but also the solutions we’ve brought to the table in terms of legislation.”
Terry’s group expressed the importance of legislation like Senate Bill 808, which would require more detailed and consistent reporting at the CSU regarding Title IX violations and eliminate retreat rights for administrators who have violated Title IX.
CSU Northridge third year psychology major and SQE intern Angelina Collins participated in Lobby Days with CFA members for the first time.
“It was nice to finally be heard and seen. Lots of students don’t feel heard and it was nice to speak for those students and for myself,” said Collins. “I was able to share my personal experiences with these people who have the power to fix some of these problems. And it shows them the passion we have and that we’re about making a change.”
Collins spoke to legislators about Assembly Bill 644 that would require the CSU to survey campus climate surrounding hate crimes and Senate Bill 11 to improve student access to mental health counselors by reducing student-to-counselor ratios to 1,500:1.
“As a Black student and a woman who’s from Compton, Northridge was a culture shock, and lots of students are feeling what I’m feeling: not a lot of students look like us. We’ve had people call us the N-word and tell us we don’t belong here. A climate survey is much needed to help draw attention to that experience and develop ways to include students from different backgrounds,” Collins said about AB 644.
“College itself is very hard, and there are not a lot of resources on campus. It can take two to three weeks to schedule an appointment with a counselor and you’re only guaranteed one or two appointments. SB 11 is a way of prioritizing mental health with students,” Collins said.
“A lot of students are struggling in the dark.”
Terry said legislators across the board expressed empathy regarding these issues and were receptive to these bills, including a number of Republicans.
“Legislators want to know us and the concerns affecting our ability to help students. Taking the time to share our stories with these folks about our legislative priorities places us in their records, which they reference when deciding how to vote. Our voices are powerful, and Lobby Days gave us the chance to exercise that power,” Terry said.
Also at Lobby Day, CFA members acknowledged our 2023 Legislators of the Year: Assemblymember Mike Fong and State Senator John Laird.