CFA members and interns with Students for Quality Education met at the capital this week to advocate with state senators and assemblymembers about our legislative bill package that focuses on increasing transparency and accountability within the CSU system.

A group of people insifde a building pose for a photo.
CFA members with Assemblymember Miguel Santiago.

“It was fantastic,” said CFA Dominguez Hills member Leisette Rodriguez, “I felt prepared. I felt really good and we’ve been received really well.”

It was immediately clear to Rodriguez that legislators and staffers respect our union and know our work.

Rodriguez spoke to the importance of passing Assembly Bill 2987. The bill would center survivors going through the painful and courageous process of coming forward to Title IX offices.

“We need to think about programs that are not just punitive. Once an allegation is found to have merit, but also preventive and healing aspects to it,” said Rodriguez.

Kate Mulry came to Lobby Days for the first time from CSU Bakersfield. The legislative visits made her feel inspired. “We’ve had a chance to talk about bills that are really important to us, to elected officials who, by and large, seem amenable,” said Mulry.

Our recent strike motivated Mulry to play a greater role in advocating for a better CSU.

“I was, of course, like many people, energized around the strike in January,” commented Mulry. “And I realized how important it is for all of us to do more. We can’t rely on just a few people to do all this work for us. Our strength is, of course, in our numbers. So I thought we all need to get involved.”

Far too often, decisions about spending, health and safety, and access to quality, inclusive, and culturally competent education are made behind closed doors with little to no input from students, faculty, staff, or community groups. Decision makers at the CSU are out of touch with what we need. These bills are a way to make sure we are heard.

“This is just an amazing opportunity,” said CFA Associate Vice President for Racial & Social Justice, South, Sharon Elise. “As a longtime Californian, I had only ever come up and done a tour of governance. Never had I been a part of it like this. And to be able to sit and actually reason through different bills, how they might impact us, how we want to support or argue against them.”

SQE interns Mikala Purugganan and Ryan Carter lobbied for the first time and were able to strategize with legislative staff to think about how to approach Republican legislators.

“I feel better equipped to have more direct conversations with people in higher positions of administration, for example,” said Purugannan

A group of people cheer with raised hands
CFA East Bay chapter and San Luis Obispo members attend Lobby Day.

“‘I definitely think that this is just a good way to encourage students to get involved in SQE, especially students who want to be more politically involved. This is a great way that you can step your foot in and also still do good social justice work,” commented Carter.

For CFA Monterey Bay member Ryne Leuzinger, the importance of participating in Lobby Days is unequivocal.

“As a social justice-oriented organization, it’s absolutely the case that there are bills that we can make powerful statements on. The legislators that we’re meeting with can better understand the nuances of those bills by hearing about our lived experiences regarding things in the classroom, how students are impacted, and that will help them make better decisions.”

Also at the Lobby Days evening reception, CFA members acknowledged our 2024 Legislative Awardees:

  • Pro Tem Mike McGuire: Legislator of the Year
  • Majority Leader Lena Gonzalez: Legislator of the Year
  • Assembly Member Corey Jackson: New Legislator Award
  • Assembly Member Dawn Addis: Courage Award

Assembly Member Dawn Addis (D-San Luis Obispo) stated enthusiastically that she is, “proud that I am a CSU alumni, proud that my husband is a CSU alumni and still works for CSU, and proud that our 18-year-old is about to head into the CSU system.” 

Assembly Member Corey Jackson (D-San Bernardino) beamed as he explained, “It’s an honor to be recognized by the people who began my higher education journey as an alumni at Cal State San Bernardino.”

CFA members are meeting the moment and working toward the day when the CSU fulfills the promise of the Master Plan of Higher Education to provide high-quality, free education for anyone who wants it. We encourage legislators and the governor to continue investing in higher education – when CSU students from all backgrounds succeed, we all thrive!

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