Resolution celebrates 50th anniversary of CSU

Timothy Sandoval

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution March 3 praising the California State University System for its 50th year anniversary, a day before student and faculty held protests all over the state.

The resolution was authored by Reps Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, and Wall Herger, R-Chico, and sponsored by most of the California delegation.

The resolution commended the CSU for its 91,000 annual graduates, and its outreach to minority students. The resolution recognized that the CSU creates $13.6 billion in economic activity, and 200,000 jobs for the state of California.

“Its good to have a resolution that recognizes the history and the importance of the CSU,” said Eric Fallis, spokesman for CSU Chancellor Charles Reed. “It really shows how important the CSU is to the state.”

Lofgren and Herger could not be reached for comment.

The resolution was adopted while Reed was in Washington leading a delegation to advocate for federal funding for the CSU’s financial aid services, research projects and other funding.

“I don’t know if the authors of the resolution were aware of the timing, but it certainly did work out nicely,” Fallis said.

Reed was in the audience as Lofgren spoke on the House floor about the resolution.

“I am really thrilled to be part of honoring CSU, and also noting that the entire California Democratic delegation has co-sponsored this resolution,” Lofgren said on the House floor.

Most of the California Republican delegation co-sponsored the introduction of the resolution, though some did not. When voted upon, the resolution passed unanimously.

Don Gerth, former president of Sacramento State and an author of the CSU’s history, said the resolution was appropriate.

“The recognition of the CSU system is important because its one of the most significant social inventions of the last 50 years,” Gerth said. “It offers broad access for all the people of California. All are affected by what we do.”

Gerth is writing an on minority outreach in the CSU.

“That is an historic effort of the California State University system,” Gerth said. “If you look at the demography of the state, there is no way other than to increase minority participation in higher education.”

Lofgren, on the House floor, praised the CSU for its diversity.

“The CSU reaches out to California’s growing underserved communities,” Lofgren said. “The CSU provides more than half of all undergraduate degrees granted to California’s Latino, African American, and Native American students.”

Lofgren commended the chancellor’s recent efforts reach out to 100,000 African Americans families during Super Sunday, a day when the chancellor and other university officials visited more than 100 African American churches across the state to speak about the importance of higher education.

Although the resolution was appropriate, Gerth said, the CSU needs to recognize that it has problems to fix.

“The most severe one is the current economic crisis in California,” Gerth said. “It is seriously impacting the California State University system.”

Lofgren said although budgets had been cut, the stimulus package provided much-needed assistance.

Almost 190,000 CSU students will pay no fee increases due to increases in the State University Grants, federal grants, and CSU fee waivers because of the stimulus package. The stimulus package also provided tens of billions of dollars to the CSU’s low-income students, and $76.5 million to restore classrooms that had been cut, Lofgren said.

Gerth said because a stimulus package would not be coming each year, California must fix its financial situation to save the CSU.

“In a sense, the stimulus package simply helped to save off the most serious impact of the states finical situation,” Gerth said. “The State simply has to come to grips with this. It’s not just the legislature or the governor. There has to be a political will built to adequately fund the CSU.”

Timothy Sandoval can be reached at [email protected].