Alliance fights against new proposed cuts

Percussion majors Deborah Cordoza, Ben Prima and Reno Gordon a sociology major played for California Faculty Association trying to stop budget cuts in the Library Quad Nov. 19:Claire Padgett


Percussion majors Deborah Cordoza, Ben Prima and Reno Gordon a sociology major played for California Faculty Association trying to stop budget cuts in the Library Quad Nov. 19:Claire Padgett

Sam Pearson

The Alliance for the CSU met in the Library Quad today to let students voice their concerns regarding budget decisions to the ongoing CSU Board of Trustees meetings in Long Beach.

The trustees are meeting to discuss the governor’s proposal to cut an additional $66.3 million from the current year’s budget as the economy continues to decline and reduce the state’s revenues.

At the event, students were asked to write how budget cuts affect their lives. The sheets of paper would then be faxed to the chancellor’s office. The goal was to connect a human face to the budget cuts.

The tactic was used last spring, when the alliance was able to avert most of the governor’s proposed cuts to the budget. Now the cuts are back, as the current state budget is being reopened. The proposed cuts for the CSU are about the same as the ones the alliance campaigned against last spring.

Student fees could rise next semester, which is worse than the recurring trend of raising fees every school year, said Horacio Viveros, senior ethnic studies major and alliance volunteer.

In the past, the Alliance for the CSU has worked more closely with the Chancellor’s Office to prevent budget cuts. With the board meeting to consider new cuts and CSU Chancellor Charles Reed’s move to return $31.3 million in CSU funding to the state this fall, the group is beginning to make the Chancellor’s Office the target of its outreach efforts, when previously they had worked together to communicate with elected officials.

Members of the alliance continue to express frustration over the chancellor’s move.

“In a way it’s kind of like a smack in our faces,” Viveros said. “I thought you were with us, I thought you were with the alliance. The fact that he did that willingly — we don’t want that to happen again.”

The chancellor’s office has said that the return of funds was required by the state department of finance.

Kevin Wehr, vice president of the Sacramento State chapter of the California Faculty Association, said that groups within the alliance work together on issues they agree on, but that does not mean there are never disagreements.

“Right now we can all agree that cuts have consequences,” Wehr said.

The Alliance for the CSU works to support the chancellor’s office, Wehr said, but the alliance cannot take a leadership role on its own. By returning funding, Wehr said, the chancellor’s office was retreating from the kind of leadership that was necessary.

“They need to be the leaders who will go to the legislators and the governor and the department of finance and say, ‘If you cut us, there will be consequences,'” Wehr said.

Laura Gonzalez, sophomore government major, was volunteering with the alliance after working on voter registration drives earlier in the semester in the Library Quad. She said that while she did not consider herself that informed about budget issues, it was important for students to become involved.

“I’m really concerned about this and I think more students should be aware of what’s going on,” Gonzalez said.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported today that Reed approved salary increases of up to 19 percent for nine vice presidents at four campuses, and approved 11 new vice presidents at nine campuses with salaries of up to $225,000. A board committee yesterday reviewed those actions and approved several additional salary increases for CSU administrators.

Wehr said that it showed how budget cuts needed to be distributed fairly throughout the system.

“Everybody needs to tighten their belt a little bit,” Wehr said.

Sam Pearson can be reached at [email protected]