Thursday, March 4, 2010

A message to California's legislators from CSU faculty

If you are a faculty member in the CSU system, you should consider writing your legislators today to demand that they restore funding to the CSU. Here's a letter I just sent to congressmen and senators representing my home area:

Faculty 2010 Action Item

To: Michael N. Villines, Juan Arambula, Dave Cogdill, Dean Florez
From: Madhusudan Katti

I am a faculty member in the California State University system. As students, parents, faculty and staff are preparing to raise public awareness of the destructive effects that CSU budget cuts have had on public higher education, workforce development, and the state economy, I am writing to implore you to support Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal that includes the partial restoration of $305 million to the CSU.

The erosion of state support for the California State University system has been devastating. State support for the CSU has been cut by $625 million (21%) over the past two years which represents a reduction of more than $1500 per student. As a result of these enormous cuts student fees have increased more than 40%, thousands of course sections were cut, all of our employees have been furloughed, and, for the first time ever, we were not able to admit students for the spring term.

Despite these drastic actions, we are bursting at the seams. My students are desperate to find classes. The scarcity of available courses slows their progress toward their degrees, increasing the financial pressures they face today and in the future. Sadly, some of these students are dropping out and forgoing the education that is so essential to our state’s economic recovery. When the choice to drop out of school is forced upon students, they are 6 times more likely to live in poverty and 85% more likely to be incarcerated both of which are far more costly to the state than adequately funding their education.

I am well aware of the budget problems facing our state and the difficult decisions that will have to be made to deal with them. I am hopeful however, that I can count on you to be among the visionary California leaders who understand that the health of our economy and the strength of our tax base relies upon having an educated citizenry. I am counting on you to defend restored funding for public higher education for our students, because it is in the best economic interest of our state.


Madhusudan Katti

This was in response to the following call for action from the Chair of our Academic Senate:

Many of you are aware that our advocacy efforts by CSU Faculty last fall resulted in Governor Schwarzenegger's proposal to restore $305 million to the CSU budget next year. While that was a significant victory, we must now make sure that our legislators know that supporting that proposal is critical to the CSU, our students, and our state. To that end, I am hoping that you will take a moment to send your legislators an email asking them to support restoring funding to public higher education in this year's budget.

The Chairs of the 23 Academic and Faculty Senates of the CSU system are participating in San Francisco State's initiative to get word to our legislators.  By following the link below, you can instantly send your representatives a pre-drafted letter or you can write something more tailored to your individual experience.

Urgent Message to Legislators

The link will work for faculty on and off campus, so feel free to forward it to faculty on other campuses. I am hopeful that this effort will make this week's advocacy activities resonante even more strongly with our elected officials.

Dr. Michael  Botwin
Chair, Academic Senate 
Professor & Chair, Dept. of Psychology

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