On April 4, the California Faculty Association organized a rally at Gov. Jerry Brown’s mansion in Sacramento with a primary goal of increasing financial support for the CSU system.
“Faculty, students and everyone who cares about public higher education really needs to be concerned about what’s happening to the California State University which we call the people’s university,” said CFA President Jennifer Eagan.
Those behind the rally feel that the state funding for the CSU system is inadequate and they are not being invested
The CSU schools were created to allow all students that could meet the requirements an opportunity to get a higher education.
With over 30,000 qualified students being turned away this year alone, that promise is not being met.
“That’s a real violation of that promise that was made to California’s young people to have a place in a university,” Eagan said. “It’s also bad public policy because the state committed that it needed a college-educated workforce so much that they should subsidize it.”
The CSU has been increasing student fees in an attempt to fill the hole in the budget.
“That is a form of privatization,” Eagan said. “It is moving the cost of public higher education, which is a public good, onto individual students and their families.”
These are funds that originally were supposed to be funded by the state.
“We had a tuition increase last year, and now the CSU is considering the possibility of another one,” said Eagan.
Meanwhile, Gov. Brown is holding onto a surplus of over $7 billion.
“The CSU is still in austerity mode while the coffers of the state are overfull,” said Eagan.
In addition to the current proposed CSU budget, they are asking for $422 million in order to increase enrollment by 5 percent.
This target amount may be a long shot, but the goal is to put pressure on the governor and legislature to return their attention to the valuable CSU system.
Eagan mentioned that having college-educated citizens is good for the state and that by investing in the CSU, they will be investing into the future of California.
With nearly 1,000 students, faculty, and supporters at the capitol the day of the rally, the concerns for the CSU budget were definitely heard.
Dorothy Chen-Maynard, who is a professor at CSUSB and a CFA representative, attended the rally and was impressed with the turnout.
“We are here to fully fund the CSU and maintain the quality of education for all students,” said Chen-Maynard.
Chen-Maynard commented on the positive atmosphere and mentioned that they really got their points across to the legislature.
“This fight is not over,” said Chen-Maynard. “We need to keep the pressure with the governor and legislature and they need to support the CSU with adequate funding to free the CSU.”
The CFA is looking to keep constant pressure on the governor and legislature by asking for help from all students and faculty.
“Faculty on campus can support by having the conversation in the classroom,” Leslie Bryan, CSUSB lecturer and CFA officer, said. “If we could follow it on social media that would help since students have a lot of access to that.”
#FreetheCSU has become the primary social media tagline to follow the cause.