The following is a letter from CSU Chancellor Charles Reed to CSU employees. In it, he details recent budget actions and protests by students and faculty against his administration.
Several events took place last week at the Chancellor’s Office and at our campuses. It’s important to understand these events in the context of the challenges we are facing.
Our Board of Trustees took two actions on Wednesday:
–The board adopted a budget for fiscal year 2012-13 that will ask the state to restore $333 million to the CSU. Our budget includes 5 percent enrollment growth, which will allow 20,000 students to attend our universities. This will help us continue to meet the high demand for access which is central to our mission. The budget also includes a 3 percent increase in compensation for our employees who have not had a raise since 2008.
–The board approved a tuition fee increase for fall 2012 of $498 per year for undergraduate students.
The board had an in-depth discussion about the budget and wrestled with the decision to raise tuition. The CSU’s budget was cut $650 million this year, and we face the real prospect of another $100 million reduction in a few weeks. We have managed this deficit by cutting costs, reducing our workforce, limiting enrollment, and tapping our reserves. We have few options left, and increasing tuition is one of our most difficult choices.
Several people attended the Trustees’ meeting Wednesday to protest the tuition increase. Unfortunately, the protests became disruptive and resulted in personal injury to three California State University police officers and the arrest of four individuals. The glass entrance doors to the Chancellor’s Office were shattered. The damage to our building is estimated at $30,000.
Protesting peacefully and with purpose can be effective. But demonstrations that turn disruptive and result in damage and injury are intolerable. The disrespect shown by several protestors was inexcusable.
Last Thursday, the California Faculty Association held a one-day strike at Dominguez Hills and East Bay, denying classes and services to thousands of our students. On Friday, the faculty union leadership walked out of negotiations with us and stepped away from finding common agreement. We continue to urge our faculty union to bargain at the table. Strikes and related activities are a costly distraction.
There were several press accounts of these events. It is important to remember that the media’s images do not define us. The California State University is about the majority of our 43,000 employees who are committed to our mission of serving students. It is the faculty, staff and administrators who provide the outstanding teaching, hands-on learning and support our students need to succeed. Our story is told every day in our classrooms, our labs and our libraries where our most dedicated employees are teaching students to become the artists, engineers, teachers and technologists who will lead California and the nation in the 21stcentury.
Your efforts are powerful and impactful. I am proud of the work you do.
We will continue to face challenges. And we will succeed because our focus on serving students will be unwavering and our collective energies will be directed toward advocating for the state to reinvest in the California State University.
I thank you for the outstanding work you do in making the California State University the nation’s best public university.