Nov. 17 CFA Strike: “Enough is Enough!” at CSU DH

Blog report by Teri Yamada

“Enough is Enough!”  Reporting on the  CFA Nov. 17 Strike at CSU DH

The California Faculty Association, union friends, and concerned students successfully shut down two CSU campuses today with the clear message “Enough is Enough!”  The flawed management of the CSU needs some careful scrutiny as executives get bonuses and students get tuition increases.  Chancellor Reed, who professed to the media this week that no faculty would participate in  the strike actions at CSU Dominguez Hills  and CSU East Bay, was in for a big surprise today as hundreds of strikers picketed the entrances to two campuses.  This is the day after the CSU Board of Trustees voted to raise student tuition fees  again — this time 9%— even before the California legislature  cut the CSU budget.

Today’s message —Enough is enough— reflects more than anger at  Chancellor Reed’s refusal to grant a quarter percent raise out of a $4.5 billion CSU state budget.  It is anger at being called ‘greedy and irresponsible’ by executives who give themselves significant bonuses, equity increases and raises rather than support courses for students and the faculty who teach them.   It is time for CSU management to get its priorities straight.  Enough is enough!

Since becoming the head of the CSU in 1998, Chancellor Reed has overseen an increase in student tuition of over 263%.   In fact, since 1998 (adjusting for inflation) student fees have increased 106% while faculty salaries have fallen 10%.  Meanwhile, administrators have enjoyed a 23% pay increase.  One egregious example of management’s misplaced priorities is the recent $100,000 bonus given to the new San Diego State president on the same day the CSU Board of Trustees voted to increase student tuition by 12%.    In fact, the CSU spent $75 million less on faculty pay last year than in 2007 due to layoffs—while the student-faculty ratio continues to increase.

So enough is enough!  Selfish management priorities are costing Californians access to quality public higher education.  Buildings are crumbling, technology infrastructure in the classroom needs updating, faculty need support to improve their courses and to maintain their expertise, students need mentoring.  Instead, the Chancellor  uses his Executive Order power, without any state legislative oversight, to enact new and expensive programs with questionable efficacy.  Mandatory Early Start, for example, is a new program that requires all entering freshman who need remedial education courses to take a 1-unit summer course before they can ‘start’ in fall 2012.  This is an example of an absurd waste of taxpayer money.  Another new plan, CSU Online, may set up a new corporation to sell the ‘CSU brand’ to foreign students and the military, funneling needed resources away from campuses to a virtual CSU.  And the Chancellor just hired yet another administrator, this time for the new CSU Online initiative, at a time when costly experimental programs siphon money from courses that students need to graduate.

These facts and others have led members of the California Faculty Association to vote 93% in favor of going on strike. We are not going to stand for continued disrespect and erosion of our rights and the quality of the CSU.  Faculty, librarians, counselors and coaches — their knowledge and dedication to students —are the value in the CSU, not new experimental programs of dubious merit or expensive executives.    The question now is will our elected representatives in Sacramento and the good citizens of California decide to exercise some oversight over a Chancellor who has failed the CSU.