Last week shortly before I left for Washington, D.C. to attend meetings of the AAUP Foundation Board and the AAUP Executive Committee, I learned that California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy White would be addressing a breakfast there hosted by the California State Society, “a social networking organization” serving Californians in the nation’s capital. So I decided to join two CSU colleagues and a few supporters and attend the event, while about a dozen or more additional supporters demonstrated outside in support of the California Faculty Association’s (CFA) “Fight for Five.” Perhaps, I thought, my attendance might offer White an opportunity to respond to some of the questions I had asked him on Academe's blog.
See Hank Reichman stand up for CFA faculty and students in DC here:
Well, it’s hardly a surprise that this didn’t happen. Instead, we three faculty members found ourselves seated as far away from the Chancellor as possible. Moreover, owing to the layout of the restaurant where the event took place, White literally spoke with his back to us, a fitting image given the content of his remarks.
White’s topic was the CSU’s efforts to improve graduation rates, with special emphasis on the importance of Pell Grants in achieving this goal. One might think that any effort to improve graduation rates might involve a university system’s teachers. Yet for the entire time White talked the words “teacher,” “instructor,” or “faculty” never crossed his lips. The Chancellor spoke — although hardly eloquently, as, to be frank, judging from the two times I’ve now heard him speak, he is among the least engaging orators I’ve ever encountered — about efforts to better align curriculum with student needs. But somehow this was something that “we” in the CSU are doing — the Chancellor was accompanied by a few campus presidents, including the president of my own campus, and some other administrative bigwigs — and apparently faculty were not involved.
Impatient with the Chancellor’s vapidity, David Bradfield, Professor of Music at CSU, Dominguez Hills, rose to ask White why he was refusing to respond to calls from CFA President Jennifer Eagan to resolve the contract dispute. White declined to answer. Soon after I interrupted the speech — and I must admit here that I was getting a bit hot under the collar — when White went on about the need to address the fact that many of our students struggle to find adequate housing and even to eat. This is a genuine problem, of course, about which I have previously written on the Academe blog (see also this post by Marty Kich). But the issue on everyone’s mind today in the CSU is the ability of faculty also to find affordable housing and even, in the case of many of our small army of part-time lecturers, even to eat given the low salaries we are paid. The Chancellor responded that we must “live within our budget,” a comment suggesting he might have read my previous post and recognized how impolitic it was to say we had “live within our means” given the size of the “means” he is provided by the CSU compared to that given to its faculty.Let’s get the facts straight, the facts that White not only refused to mention but even to acknowledge:
- Average annual salary for a faculty member in the CSU — $46,016
- Average annual salary for CSU managers and supervisors — $110,713
- Loss in purchasing power for full-time equivalent CSU faculty since 2005 — down $7,000
- Percentage of CSU faculty who hold “temporary” appointments — 60%
- Average annual salary of those “temporary” faculty members — $27,567
- Increase in full-time equivalent CSU students over the last decade — 75,366 (+24%)
- Change in the number of full-time equivalent faculty since 2005 — +14%
- Change in number of tenure-line faculty since 2005 — down 2%
- Change in number of “temporary” faculty since 2005 — +24%
- Change in the number of CSU managers and supervisors since 2005 — +22%
- Change in the CSU net operating budget since 2005 — +40%
- Change in CSU expenditures on faculty since 2005 — +25%
- Change in CSU expenditures on managers and supervisors since 2005 — +48%
- Additional state funding CFA lobbying helped secure for the CSU in 2015-16 — $97 million
- Movement by CSU management at the bargaining table after the $97 million augmentation — ZERO!
Finally, Susan Green, Professor of History at CSU, Chico, rose to politely ask the Chancellor whether he wants his legacy to be that of the leader who provoked the largest strike of higher education faculty in U.S. history. Given his silence in response, I guess he does. At that point we walked out, leaving the Chancellor free to drone on about accomplishments he claims for himself and his administration while ignoring the elephant no longer in the room, but now leafleting and talking with people outside the door — the faculty.