By Janet Curiel & Arturo Brooks |Staff Writers|
Q. Why does the Faculty Senate feel there isn’t shared governance?
A. Shared governance is a hallmark of university life. It is how ideas are vetted and policies and plans are put through the grist of collective consideration. The Senate and its committees are the bodies that do this work and ensure that the faculty perspective is represented. It is incumbent upon administration to consult these bodies as a normal part of the business of the university.Since President Morales’ arrival on campus, shared governance has eroded. Major decisions affecting the university have been made with little or no attempt to solicit faculty input. The shift of summer session to self-support was not discussed in advance with the Senate. The decision to shift spring commencement to a location outside of our home city of San Bernardino was made without Senate input. The adoption of Agent of Change, a required sexual assault prevention program for CSUSB students, was revoked after the administration learned that the program survey should have had Institutional Review Board approval for its data collection, a consideration the Senate could have warned them about had we been consulted. The development of Coyote First Step, a multi-million dollar residential summer program built on top of the mandated “Early Start” developmental program, similarly took place without Senate consultation.
Q. What other concerns do you have with certain aspects President Morales leadership?
A. The budget advisory committee before 2012 would have a say in determining the budget and now they don’t have a say. Don’t have a role in decision making.There seems to be less money coming to academic affairs, its the division in charge of instruction on campus, provides funding for adding course sections, highering faculty, buying equipment. The budget has gone down by 3.6 since 2010 but the state budget was done badly at that time so that can be explained but 2.6 decreases since 2012. Shows lack of commitment towards the fundamental mission of the universities providing students with an education.
Q. You mentioned money being taken from certain departments and where is that going too?
A. Hard to say so many tables and without comparable information from the past years were not really sure. We’ve asked for a lot of budget information in the past and haven’t gotten it. We suspect a lot of money being spent on external consultants get hired to come in and give advice on particular aspects. Often times they are paid large sums of money to do this. We did ask at one point for a list of external consultants, and instead, we were given a list of faculty that received $50 for going to an advisory session in the summer or beyond normal work hours. That’s not what we wanted. We’re worried about the guys possibly making 100,000 plus. we believe that request was deliberately misinterpreted.This year nearly $1 M from summer session revenue will be diverted to Coyote First Step to subsidize housing and dining services.
Q. How has enrollment been affected by these changes and is there a committee such as the budget advisory committee?
A. There used to be an enrollment management committee, This committee used to make decisions on how many students we needed if we needed more they would go out on recruiting efforts. There could be decisions to get more or cut back. This committee has four of them, and this committee hasn’t meant for the past two years at least without any faculty members present. They have met years prior more than several times a quarter. We are currently 5.1 percent over our target enrollment, putting pressure on faculty who are forced to teach bigger classes and on students who struggle to gain access to courses.First-year retention rates have dropped in each year of this administration. In 2013-14, FY retention rates were 88.6 percent; they are 85.1 percent for the most recent year. They fell particularly sharply for African American students this past year, from 90 percent to 83 percent. These are a leading indicator of student success and presage declining graduation rates, at precisely the time when the system’s Graduation Initiative requires the campus to increase these rates.
Q. What lead the Faculty taking the survey a year ago, and has anything been done since?
A. Survey of the campus climate a little over a year ago over 750 responses to the survey, 2/3 felt the climate had changed and of that group, 89% said it got worse. There were reports of retaliation and bullying and favoritism. There are enough reports that it’s concerning. reports of retaliation and bullying is what prompted the climate survey, from what we were receiving. The results of the survey were a pretty serious indictment, of President Morales. The campus climate committee made a series of recommendations on a report on how to improve campus over time. President Morales said he would implement all of those recommendations. He hasn’t kept his word maybe one or two of them out of twenty. Anti-bullying program for everyone has not be done. He promised to have a series of meetings to talk about these issues we only met with him once this year.
The vote of no confidence is not binding, but it is a strong symbolic statement. We expected that the Chancellor’s public response would be supportive of the President, because that is what has happened in previous votes of no confidence in the CSU system. It is quite possible that an entirely different conversation is happening behind closed doors. In previous votes of no confidence within the CSU, eventual consequences have ranged from the president stepping down to the president making major positive changes that eventually led to a vote of confidence.
Regardless of the result of the faculty referendum, I believe I am speaking for the entire Faculty Senate in committing to heal our divisions and move our university forward.