Open Letter to Chancellor White and the CSU Board of Trustees
State Funding: How it is used, and how much to request

Dear Chancellor White and Trustees:

As we start the new academic year we want to recognize the tremendous effort that faculty, staff, and students made on behalf of increasing the CSU budget for 2018-19.

The success of that amazing effort also leads us to insist that you and the campus presidents not only use good judgment and transparency in how you spend those new dollars, but also that you faithfully fulfill the intent of the Legislature in doing so.

There must be accountability for doing the work needed to bring funding to the CSU as well as for how those funds are expended now that they are allocated.

Although we at CFA were disappointed last year that the CSU administration decided to make a budget request that did not fully meet the needs of the system, we still found ways to help the legislature understand that the Governor’s allocation fell far short of the university’s real needs.

The success of this effort demonstrates that while we may differ on specifics we can all agree that the system needs more public investment.

Working with our fantastic CSU students CFA’s public advocacy for a bigger investment in our system began the day Governor Brown released his budget in January and was followed by relentless advocacy at each hearing, countless lobby days, and a colorful, instructive action on April 4th.

For the first time in years, higher education funding became one of the top priorities for legislative leaders in both houses and with bi-partisan support.

As a result, the CSU’s budget was improved this year by $364 million.

We must be frank, however. CFA, along with student activists, ran a campaign for the budget that focused on racial justice, equity, and access for students turned away from the CSU, not on executive pay increases.

We would like to be able to advocate effectively for the CSU budget again next year but your decision to address executive pay in the very first meeting after the budget was signed concerns us.

How will this affect our ability to secure more public funding next year? We do not want to see this poor judgement undermine all of the hard work and the good will that we built up in the legislature last year.

Governor Brown and Speaker Rendon have already sent clear messages that they oppose the proposed executive pay policies and are alarmed at your decision to introduce new ways to further increase executive compensation when they supported the funding augmentations to support students, keep tuition down, accommodate new enrollment, and hire more teachers.

We urge you and the Board to show that you are good stewards of the system and deserving of the legislature’s trust and withdraw these executive pay proposals.

Having worked so hard to improve our budget, faculty, staff, and students feel fully invested in seeing that the money we were able to bring to the CSU is used wisely and appropriately.

Unfortunately, we already have seen evidence that campuses, following your instructions, may not be spending the additional resources we gained for them in the ways that the legislature envisioned, that is, on enrollment and hiring tenure track faculty.

Please be aware that we will be looking for transparency particularly in the following areas:

  • How many additional students has the system been able to enroll?
  • How much of the additional funding is being allocated to each campus?
  • How is each campus planning to spend those dollars?
  • How is the $25 million set aside to fund new tenure track hiring being allocated to each campus?
  • How many additional tenure-track faculty positions will be created using these funds on each campus?
  • What efforts are being made to ensure qualified Lecturer faculty are being hired to fill tenure track positions?
  • How is the new infrastructure funding being distributed amongst the campuses?
  • What are the infrastructure priorities that these funds will support?

Finally, as you develop your budget request for 2019-20, we urge you to build on the experience of this past year and request of the governor and legislature a budget that honors what the system really needs. We will soon have a new governor; one who we believe understands how public higher education in California works and the amazing contribution it makes to the health and prosperity of the state.

Let us not be timid. Instead, let us be real about what it takes to provide quality public higher education to the working people of our state. And let us challenge our elected leaders to fulfill the promise of a higher education to the students of color, first-generation, immigrant, and low-income students who fill our classrooms today.

That is the kind of budget request that we can all support and work hard to achieve. We certainly accomplished a great deal in our advocacy for the 2018-19 budget, but there is still a great deal of work left to do.

We hope that this year ahead will be one that helps to build support and trust within and beyond the CSU community; the success of this will require transparency from your administration about the new money entrusted to the CSU this year and a budget request for next year that reflects the real funding needed to support the students in this great university system.


Officers of the California Faculty Association
Jennifer Eagan, President, CFA
Charles Toombs, Vice President, CFA
Kevin Wehr, Secretary, CFA
Susan Green, Treasurer, CFA
Leslie Bryan, Associate VP Lecturers, South
Johnathan Karpf, Associate VP Lecturers, North
Molly Talcott, Associate VP, South
Rafael Gómez, Associate VP, North
Sharon Elise, Associate VP Affirmative Action, South
Cecil Canton, Associate VP Affirmative Action, North


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