On April 4th – the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King – the California Faculty Association (CFA) and Students for Quality Education (SQE) invite our campus community to join us in Sacramento as we demand additional state funding for the California State University.
Governor Brown’s budget proposal of only $92 million more for the CSU next year does not even keep up with inflation. Access to high quality, free public education- from pre-K to PhD – is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time.
For years, California Governors and the Legislature have shortchanged the People’s University. California elected officials have failed to provide the public funding that the CSU needs and our students deserve. Instead of public funding, politicians have placed the financial burden on CSU students and their families. The cost to attend the CSU has skyrocketed. In 1985, students paid $666 per year in tuition and fees. This year, they are paying 933 percent more and the CSU Board of Trustees are considering another tuition increase of 4 percent for next year. This is in addition to the proposed 5 percent increase this year.
Governor Brown has said that students and the CSU should “live within their means.” This graphically illustrates how little the governor knows about the quotidian experiences of many of our students. SFSU faculty are keenly aware of students on our campus who are homeless, sleeping in their cars, and without the resources necessary to eat three meals a day. We know students who are working two and three jobs while trying to attend school full-time. Under these conditions, how can we expect students to excel in the classroom and graduate in four years?
The one percent
California has more billionaires than any other state in the nation. We can afford to invest in public higher education. According to the Governor’s own Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO), California’s fiscal outlook for 2018 and 2019 is positive.
The LAO predicts a discretionary surplus of $7.5 billion by the end of 2018-19. Instead of investing in the CSU, Governor Brown is choosing to put billions more than required by law in to a Rainy Day Fund. Further, the governor’s budget has no funding for the growth in CSU enrollment. This chronic state disinvestment in the CSU has resulted in thousands of qualified, eligible students being denied admission across the 23 CSU campuses. This year, 30,000 applicants were denied seats in the CSU.
Race Matters in
California spends 41 percent less on each CSU student today than it did 30 years ago, when the student body was predominantly white. Today, 72 percent of CSU students identify as students of color. Tens of thousands are first-generation college students. They too deserve a fully publicly funded, high quality education. They too, have dreams. As we honor the memory and vision of Dr. King on April 4th, we also call on Governor Brown and the Legislature to #FundTheDream and #FreeTheCSU. Invest in the People’s University and our students. They are the future of our state and our nation.
To get on the bus to Sacramento on April 4th, sign up: freethecsu.org