Chancellor White pops up at CSU Dominguez Hills
Faculty & students were ready with questions

“We made a clear point that we are speaking for survival of the system of higher education when we demand a raise for faculty,” explains Dominguez Hills CFA Chapter President Vivian Price.

She was referring to Chancellor Timothy White’s visit to her campus last Friday to share his “vision” for the CSU, which he laid out in a talk that lasted well over an hour. Nevertheless, the DH CFA Chapter prepared questions and a display of signs to mark his visit.

“A number of CFA members spoke eloquently,” says Price, referring to a question-answer session in which faculty and students pressed White for his vision on their concerns.

Faculty at the session responded to the call to wear some red to display their support for better pay and better conditions in which to teach. “We asked people to wear something red and they did. We saw red shirts (in varieties), red dresses, red scarfs, skirts with big red print, red hats, red hip packs. Many people …. wore red, or at least maroon, a school color that could go either way! We had wide support,” Price says.

She remarks, “His vision was long-winded and full of nice words that could be spun to be what any constituent group might want to hear. One of our faculty members compared his talk to a driver discussing the problem of a car that wasn’t running, and rather than investing in fixing the engine, the driver bought nice seat cushions.”

When CFA leader Dave Bradfield asked about faculty pay, CFA Chapter members stood up with four banners that read, “Two is too tiny, Tim. Five is Fair.”

Students for Quality Education unfurled a banner that said, “Prioritize students and fund our education.” The people in the audience turned around and viewed our display and whispered, then hushed to hear the question.

Bradfield asked:

Chancellor White, you spoke of the learning environment, here on this campus. I can introduce to you lecturer faculty who have lost their homes and, at times, their health care, and I personally know faculty and staff who, on a regular basis, must depend upon short-term loans from pawn shops just to get by each month. How does that make you feel when you hear the actual stories of faculty and staff who are struggling just to make ends meet?

Price recalls that White’s “answer was long. He mentioned the lecturer stories told at the last Trustees meeting.  He never said how he FELT about the stories but the short version of his answer was, ‘These stories have to be told.’ But, he never made the connection to the learning environment.”

A student leader from SQE asked Chancellor White to define student success and the meaning of the student success fee. She emphasized that access and affordability had made it possible for her to get an education. 

Finally, a senior faculty member shared how much he loves teaching at CSUDH but he worries that other faculty will not be able to feel the same way because they simply won’t be able to afford to teach here. What would Tim do to make a difference?

Price observes, “For the first time, the chancellor could not find any words”

Overall, she says the chancellor gave generic responses and put the responsibility back on to those in the audience.

Price concludes, “CFA has the opportunity to bring faculty staff and students together. Our demand for 5% is important, and our longer-term campaign for affordable quality public education is critical to our communities.”