Dozens of Cal State Long Beach students and faculty adorned red shirts that read “I don’t want to strike, but I will” as California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White took questions regarding the ongoing negotiations with faculty at an open forum.
The event, held Thursday in the Walter Pyramid, was part of the chancellor’s tour of campuses across the CSU system. On Tuesday, White held an open forum at Cal State Los Anegeles.
The chancellor was greeted at both events by faculty members calling for a 5 percent increase in teacher salary. The California Faculty Association has been in negotiations with the CSU system over the faculty salary since last year, and some instructors used the opportunity the open forum presented to publicly address the chancellor.
“I really appreciate what you said about student and faculty interaction, but surely you know that that requires tenure-line faculty,” said Douglas Domingo-Forasté, the Long Beach Chapter president of the CFA. “It is a myth that we can handle what we have, much less the increase in the number of students that you’d like to see, with more and more lecturers and without supporting increases in tenure density.”
White called for faculty and students to hold the state government more accountable for the current budget problems in the CSU system. And even though the governor’s revised budget called for more money to the CSU universities, White explained why that money has not been used for faculty salary.
“It was a political process to get that augmentation above the governor’s proposal,” White said. “That political process was a lot of conversations as to what we [could use] that money for. And the only thing that had political legs was to increase access for Californians into the university, to improve our infrastructure and technology … and to do better in the student success arena.”
Student success was the topic of conversation in White’s opening address to the CSULB community.
White talked about technological innovations that would push student success to another level.
He said that technology is one of his main concerns when it comes to learning outcomes, and that he would like to “use technology wisely to take advantage of the value it can bring to the university.”
In addition to the forum, White was given a tour of the campus that included seeing the recently built smart classrooms and speaking with students in the Daily 49er newsroom.
Yet the negotiations with the CFA and the potential for a faculty strike seemed to dominate conversation around the chancellor. The CSU have offered faculty a 2 percent general salary increase, while the CFA is holding out for a 5 percent increase.
“We went out and got the CSU an extra $100 million dollars of funding for this year and not one dime of that went to the faculty,” Domingo-Forasté said. “Sometimes I think that the chancellor’s office is stubborn enough to force us to strike.”
CSULB student Courtney Yamagiwa said she is worried that the quality of education could be diminished.
“My main concern is the quality of education that we get because of how the members of the faculty are treated, how little they get paid, how overworked they can be, how much the chancellor himself gets paid and how that reflects back on the education that we receive,” Yamagiwa said.
Chair and Professor of Chicano and Latino studies Jose Morena also attended the meeting to raise his concerns.
“I expect students will use their power of voting to influence the funding we get from our legislators,” Morena said. “We should build more CSUs and not more prisons.”
The chancellor’s visit to CSULB is part of an ongoing tour of the campuses in the CSU system.