News Release

CFA Applauds Gov. Brown Signing New Law For More Transparency & Accountability In Public Higher Education

For Immediate Release
Statement By Lillian Taiz, President California Faculty Association

“We heartily applaud Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to sign SB 8 into law. It is a huge step in the right direction toward greater transparency, accountability and commitment to public service in California’s three public higher education systems.

“Public service and accountability by the leaders of public institutions is always right at any time. During a period of turmoil over public funding, placing a high value on public service and accountability is paramount.

“This law will help to ensure that our scarce resources are well used for our public colleges’ and universities’ number one mission — to advance the teaching of hundreds of thousands of young people, as well as all Californians who need degrees to move into new careers.

“We are deeply thankful to State Senator Leland Yee who stuck with this law through three incarnations, two vetoes, fierce opposition until very recently from the CSU Chancellor’s Office and UC administration, and periods of chaotic debate over the need for greater public accountability. We are pleased to have co-sponsored this bill along with the California Newspaper Publishers Association and AFSCME.

“Now it is incumbent on the public to make use of this new right to request information of the college and university auxiliaries in order to hold the leaders of these public institutions accountable.”

BACKGROUND

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law yesterday a bill to bring greater transparency and accountability to how California’s three systems of public higher education get, manage and spend billions of dollars that pass through non-profit auxiliary organizations associated with them, including foundations and business enterprises.

The bill affects the California Community Colleges, the University of California and the California State University system. The CSU alone has more than 90 such auxiliaries associated with its 23 campuses and the Chancellor’s Office, that hold well in excess of $1 billion of the CSU’s funds.

Specifically, SB 8 applies the California Public Records Act to these auxiliary organizations, requiring them to respond to information requests in the same manner as requests to other public agencies.

The need for greater transparency is growing along with the roles of auxiliary organizations in California’s public higher education systems. In the past, and in many other state universities, auxiliaries’ primary functions have been to handle donations for scholarships and for the constructions of buildings. Today, they have moved far beyond those roles. For example, in the CSU a growing number of schemes are arising to use auxiliaries rather than the university itself to offer and control student dollars paying for “non publicly funded” classes and other student learning programs.

Learn more about the specific contents of the law by searching for SB8.

The California Faculty Association represents the 20,000 instructional faculty, librarians, counselors and coaches in the California State University