What’s on CFA’s 2017 Legislative Agenda?
Protecting the People's University

Protecting the CSU students and faculty, and maintaining the high quality of public higher education in the state is a focal point of CFA’s work. 

One of the ways we do that is by working with lawmakers on legislation that could further improve and protect the People’s University.

This year, we are advocating for increased funding for the CSU and legislation that would halt tuition increases for our students, raise the number of tenure track faculty in the CSU, and put protections in place for CSU students, faculty and staff at risk due to potential changes in federal immigration enforcement.

Here’s an overview.

CSU Budget

The CSU Trustees asked Gov. Brown to increase CSU funding by $324.9 million in his 2017-18 state budget plan. Brown proposed less.

CFA is supporting that augmentation, and urging lawmakers to fund the Trustee’s whole budget request.

This debate assumed added urgency when the CSU Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition by 5 percent, but promised to roll it back if their funding request comes through in full.

CFA-sponsored legislation

AB 393: Mandatory Systemwide Fees and Tuition Moratorium

Given the financial challenges and hardships facing college students today, Assembly Bill 393, authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, would freeze tuition and mandatory system-wide fees in the CSU and California Community Colleges through the 2019-20 academic year. 

Despite the student body of the CSU having grown by 64% over the past 30 years, state funding hasn’t kept pace, and the shortfall has had dramatic effects on students. Tuition has increased 923% over that same period of time, constricting access to public higher education and falling short of the promise of the California Master Plan to keep costs to a minimum.

AB 393 would cap tuition at current levels while the Legislature works on a long-term funding solution, and give students and their families peace of mind that costs won’t continue to escalate during that time. It should be noted that the recent 5% tuition increase imposed by the Board of Trustees, this bill is especially timely.

The bill also urges University of California regents to adopt policies consistent with those contained in the bill.

AB 1464: California State University—Tenure-Track Faculty

Assembly Bill 1464, introduced by Assemblymember Shirley Weber, would place in statute an eight-year strategy to increase the number of tenure track faculty in the CSU, with a target that 75% of the faculty should be tenure track by 2026.

The bill emerged from a 2001 Assembly Resolution (ACR 73) that asked the CSU, Academic Senate and CFA to develop a plan to boost the number of tenure track faculty in the system. That resulted a 2002 plan, which spelled out an eight-year schedule of new hires and lecturer reclassifications to improve tenure density throughout the CSU system. 

While the CSU Board of Trustees maintained that it would strengthen CSU faculty ranks in a 2008 strategic plan, actions have not followed. Over the past decade, hiring practices in the CSU have focused on hiring lecturers, many of whom are hired at a timebase that denies them access to health and retirement benefits. Currently, about 60% of faculty by headcount are lecturers, and only 40% are tenured or tenure-track faculty.

All faculty play an important role in teaching and providing a high-quality education and experience to students. The primary responsibility for student advising, program development and revision, and shared governance lies with tenured and tenure-track faculty, however. This legislation would increase the number of faculty who could fulfill those critical needs, through new hiring on the tenure track, as well as lecturer reclassification.

AB 21: Access to Higher Education for Every Student

Assembly Bill 21, authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, would alleviate the impact of potential changes at the federal level to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The bill would ensure that California State University students with DACA status have access to financial resources, legal representation, medical care and housing. 

AB 21 calls on the CSU and community colleges to extend protections and resources to undocumented students and their families, including:

  • Refrain from releasing certain information regarding the immigration status of students, faculty, staff or other members of the communities served by the campuses.
  • Require faculty and staff to immediately notify the campus chancellor or president if they are aware that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or those working in coordination with ICE, are expected to enter, will enter, or have entered campus.
  • Immediately notify any and all students who may or could be subject to an immigration enforcement order or inquiry in a discrete and confidential manner that federal ICE is suspected on campus or had been on campus.
  • Require faculty and staff responding to or having contact with ICE, or any law enforcement working with ICE, to verify the legality of any warrant or subpoena prior to complying or cooperating with any immigration order or inquiry.
  • Assign a staff person, or multiple staff persons, to serve as a point of contact for any student, faculty, or staff person who may or could be subject to an immigration order or inquiry on campus. Also prohibits discussion of immigration status of any student, faculty, or staff with anyone except the person in question.
  • Solicit and maintain a contact list of known attorneys or legal services providers who provide pro bono legal immigration representation, and provide it free of charge to any and all students who request it.

If federal DACA policy is amended in any way from how it existed on Jan. 19, 2017, or reversed, ensure that the following occur: 

  • DACA students may continue to receive financial aid, fellowship stipends, exemption from nonresident tuition fees, funding for research or educational projects, or other benefits they receive.
  • Staff will be available to assist, on a confidential basis, former DACA students, other students, faculty, and staff who may be subject to a federal immigration order or inquiry, or who are at risk.

The bill also requests the same protections and resources for students in the UC system.