Sep 21, 2019

CSU faculty, staff accept furloughs

This summer, faculty, advisers and support staff statewide voted to approve furloughs in response to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budgeted $584 million cut from the California State University general fund.

There are three basic types of furloughs: campus closures, administrative furloughs and faculty furloughs.

The largest scale furlough is the campus closure, in which the entire Fresno State campus will be closed, and no classes or instruction will be held. All of the campus closures this semester are scheduled on days in which instruction would not normally have taken place: Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.

Administrative furloughs will see offices closed, such as the Joyal Administration building, but classes will meet for instruction. However, many of the facilities will remain open, including the Henry Madden Library, the Kennel Bookstore and childcare services.

Meanwhile, the most complicated furloughs could be the faculty furloughs. Members of the California Faculty Administration agreed to take 18 furlough days without pay for the 2009-10 school year. Nine days will be taken this semester.

“For the whole campus, we tried to minimize the number of furlough days that would be disruptive,” said vice president for student affairs Paul M. Oliaro.

The administration has dictated two specific furlough days for the fall semester and three for the spring, leaving each professor with the flexibility to choose the remaining seven days they will furlough this semester. However, there are some guidelines for this process, and each faculty member must have their schedule approved by their department chairs and the dean.

Oliaro said that faculty has been encouraged to take furloughs on days that they do not have class. However, faculty with classes five days a week may have to get creative in order to avoid losing precious class time.

“If they do have a five day class schedule then they can always provide an alternative assignment,” said Oliaro.

This could take the form of an out-of-class assignment, or a test given by a proctor without the professor present, he said. The use of alternative assignments could vary, and is entirely up to the faculty.

Oliaro said that it is impossible to eliminate the impact that furloughs will have on students, despite the efforts the university is making.

Craig Magie, an assistant professor in the biology department, agreed.

“Certainly the furloughs will affect some of the course time,” Magie said.

Magie also expressed concern about administrative furlough days, stating that with the support staff on furlough, problems with classroom technology could go unsolved.

“Hopefully, that won’t be a big problem, but you never know,” he said.

It’s that uncertainty that has some students worried.

“Depending how they schedule their days off, you could fall behind in any number of ways,” said Andrew Schaeffer, a senior information systems major. “It bothers me.”

Freshman business administration major Daniel Dukes feels like he’s getting a bad deal.

“It makes me mad that I’m paying extra money to get less,” Dukes said.

While students will feel the crunch of having to purchase textbooks, the professors will feel it in their pocketbooks. Faculty members will not receive pay on furlough days, which amounts to 9.23 percent loss of income.

“It’s being cut by almost 10 percent. So yeah, I’ll feel that,” said Magie.

Oliaro pointed out that each of the unions involved agreed to furloughs in a joint effort to save money and reduce layoffs. Oliaro said that everyone is sacrificing in their own way. While students are contributing by paying more, staff and faculty have agreed to the 10 percent salary reduction.

“I think it’s created, at least, a sense of cooperation and a sense of community across the campus.”

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