‘We Are Concerned’: CFA’s Speeches to CSU Board of Trustees

On March 24, 2020, CSU Board of Trustees met for the first time since the coronavirus crisis through virtual means. During public comments, CFA President Charles Toombs and CFA Vice President Kevin Wehr each spoke for one minute on behalf of Unit Three members and the effect from the COVID-19 on their jobs, and protecting our members from xenophobia that has arisen during this crisis. Here are their transcribed speeches:


Remarks from CFA President Charles Toombs:

Good Morning Chancellor White and the Board of Trustees. I am Charles Toombs, CFA President and Professor at San Diego State University.

CFA is here to protect the rights, health, safety and working conditions of our members now and when we resume face -to-face work.  We are  concerned about the safety and well-being of all faculty, students and staff.

I would like you to know how hard our Unit Three members are working to provide instruction, counseling, coaching and library services to our students in a virtual modality.  Many of them have only worked face-to-face with students. And with little preparation time, in most cases only a few days, they have risen to the challenge in these extraordinary circumstances to do what they always do: deliver a quality education. They are using their professional expertise and professional judgement in making the transition to virtual modalities as seamless for our students as possible. 

I hope you will join me to applaud and praise their work.

And in these virtual working conditions, CFA strongly advocates for our members to have the right to not face professional setbacks in evaluations and future assignments; the right to a safe and clean campus when they return to campus; the continued right to our intellectual property and academic freedom; and the right to resume normal practices when the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Moreover, we expect the Collective Bargaining Agreement to be honored at all times.

Thank you and stay safe.


Remarks from CFA Vice President Kevin Wehr:

Good Morning,

This is Kevin Wehr, Vice President of CFA.

Our CFA leaders on every campus have been working tirelessly to engage with management representatives, putting in place provisions for how this work is to be transitioned, how and under what circumstances our instruction will be evaluated, in what contexts our colleagues will evaluate one another, and what this means for performance reviews, promotion, tenure, and reappointment.  We know that there is a great deal of stress amongst faculty and our students as we deal with these new circumstances.  These stresses are particularly pronounced amongst our Asian American and Pacific Islander faculty, staff, and students, who have to deal with the added burden of racism and xenophobia surrounding this pandemic.

On the campuses where there has been a collaborative relationship we have seen anxieties reduced and problems solved.  And on other campuses, pre-existing problems have exacerbated divisions and inhibited solutions.  In difficult times it is important for us to recognize why we are all here: our students. I want to encourage the Trustees and managers to recognize the outstanding work our faculty have put in—and continue to put in—for our students, and I want you all to further recognize the amazing resiliency of our students as they adjust to these new conditions. 

Please remember that just as faculty need support, our students need accommodation, flexibility, and care during these difficult times.