News Release

CFA Says It’s Time to Transform Higher Education to a More Inclusive, Social Justice Minded System
Highlights: Remove Armed Police from Campus, Enact Ethnic Studies Requirement, Resource/Establish Black/Africana Studies Departments, Provide Free Tuition, Institute Programs for Students Impacted by Criminal Justice System, Increase Racial Representation

SACRAMENTO — The California Faculty Association (CFA) today released its anti-racism and social justice approach to better serve its Black faculty and students, expanding on past demands for a more inclusive and equitable CSU system. 

The public execution of George Floyd shocked the system for CFA and its members. But it was not a surprise given the persistence of anti-Black racism and white supremacy across the state and country. It is not enough to condemn this public execution that calls lynching to mind. This is not a moment, but rather a movement calling to abolish systemic racism across the country.

“The US is a racialized society based on white supremacy where opportunities, resources, power and human rights are structured by race to privilege whiteness,” said Sharon Elise, CFA Associate Vice President, Racial & Social Justice, South, “one where race structures disadvantages such as poverty, barriers to opportunity and power, and failure to recognize humanity, resulting in a racial hierarchy.”

Anti-Black violence and racism did not begin with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade. Nor did this injustice come to the forefront with the 2016 election; systemic racism and violence have confronted Black people since the first enslaved Africans were brought to Jamestown in 1619. Policing in America and the “new enslavement” of Black Americans continued with the loophole of the 13th Amendment and the establishment of Jim Crow laws. Those decisions (and many, many more) have led us to where we are today.

As a social justice union, CFA announced a list of goals and demands to highlight its anti-racism and social justice campaign in order to enact systemic change within the CSU system.

Click to view CFA’s Anti-Racism and Social Justice Transformation Package at the CSU.

The document addresses systemic barriers created in the context of systemic and anti-Black racism to develop action plans, programs, resources, and support to better serve our faculty and students across the 23 CSU campuses. The proposal demands racial equality, criminal justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, and educational justice.

Highlights include:

  1. Remove armed policing from campus. CFA demands that the CSU divest from its relations with police institutions throughout the state and remove armed police from our campuses. The CSU says it welcomes Black students yet, on each CSU campus, armed police exist, many highly militarized by virtue of the clothing, equipment, weapons, and culture we witness.  The police represent a real threat to Black lives.  Militarized state police should not be deployed daily on our campuses given the low and incidence of violent crime; this police presence strikes terror and fear in the Black campus community.
  2. Ethnic Studies AB1460: A requirement for one Ethnic Studies course. CFA demands that Chancellor White, the Board of Trustees, and the CSU Academic Senate immediately support Assembly Bill 1460. AB 1460 would require at least one Ethnic Studies course as a graduation requirement in the CSU. This bill would help in the process of eradicating racism in this state by educating students to the histories, cultures, and lens of Black, Chicanx/Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, and Native and Indigenous peoples in this country, their long struggle with institutionalized racism in the United States, and their resistance to their oppression. Students would have access to the documents, facts, and the knowledge that would empower them to change the world where they will work and live.
  3. Resource/establish Black/Africana studies departments. CFA demands that Black and other students be given access to Black/Africana Studies departments that have tenure-line faculty and budgetary allocations sufficient to provide for the systematic study of the story of Afrodescendant peoples and culture, their conditions, experiences and contributions. 
  4. Tuition-Free CSU. Given the decades-long trend of declining enrollments amongst Black and Indigenous students in the CSU and other higher education institutions across the United States, CFA calls on the CSU to provide free tuition for all Black and Indigenous students with the goal of ultimately making the CSU tuition-free for all.
  5. Racial representation among CSU Leadership. CFA urges the CSU system to increase diversity among administration as a way to begin to better support Black faculty. CSU leadership from the Chancellor’s Office to the Board of Trustees and across the administrations and staff of the CSU campuses must be representative of the students and communities we share instead of giving homage to and reflective of white supremacy. 

“The white supremacist ideology that is part of this structured racism is reflected in the media and gives rise to microaggressions and criminalization of Black bodies that characterize our daily social interactions on the street, in the park, in stores, schools and workplaces,” said Elise. “Structured racism and white supremacy are unavoidable.  Only systemic change can cure the centuries-long pandemic of racism.” 

CFA will continue to develop proposals and strategies surrounding anti-racism and social justice work. The union will work with the Chancellor’s Office, CSU campus leadership, and state lawmakers to implement these important changes for a better and more inclusive CSU and California.

 

CFA leaders are available to speak with members of the media. To schedule an interview, please contact Michelle Hatfield at 916-612-8779, Kody Leibowitz at 916-947-6258, or Lisa Cohen at310-395-2544.

 

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATION: CFA represents more than 29,000 tenure-line instructional faculty, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches on the 23 campuses of the California

State University system, from Humboldt State in the north, to San Diego State in the south. Learn more about CFA at calfac.org and visit our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

 

 

Commands