Board of Trustees discuss advocacy efforts for additional state funding

State Hornet Staff

Long Beach, CA — The California State University Board of Trustees gathered this week for a three day meeting in Long Beach and covered several items, including an update on bottlenecks courses and current advocacy work for a 2014-2015 budget increase.

Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Ron Vogel presented a system wide student survey results on bottleneck courses.

The online survey was conducted with 791 department chairs reporting for a 91 percent response rate. “

Those chairs identified 1,294 bottlenecks courses impacting over 44,000 of our students,” Vogel said. “The reasons for the bottlenecks were reported by the chairs, but the impact on students was outside the scope of the study.”

To determine the impact on students, 387 random students were selected for the survey. The survey showed 222 students were not impacted while 165 were negatively impacted.

Of those 165, 103 students had their degree process delayed, which Vogel said appears to be the biggest issue with bottleneck courses.

Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Technology Services Gerry Hanley presented the board’s efforts in eliminating bottlenecks courses by Fall 2017 with the offering of e-advising, hiring new tenure-track faculty, reducing super seniors and increasing student unit load.

“All students whether incoming freshmen or incoming transfer will be better prepared, have more upper division courses and have more opportunities to take upper-division they need to graduate,” Hanley said.

By fall 2017, more than 3,000 online classes are to be offered to students available through CourseMatch and cross-campus enrollment programs.

The board also updated on the work they are currently doing with the budget office to advocate for the budget increase. In November, the Board had asked for $237 million budget increase, but Gov. Jerry Brown countered with a $142 million budget increase in his proposal in January.

Since the governor’s proposal, the budget advocacy committee has met with every state legislator asking them to support the $95 million budget increase.

Speaker of the Assembly John Perez said he believes much of the advocacy discussions should work concurrently with administrators because it will have an impact in framing the conversation that happens in budget subcommittees and closing budget negotiations.

“I will just ask that we redouble our efforts of leveraging relationships that campus presidents have with civically engaged individuals and business leaders to talk about the broader impacts of increasing funding for CSU,” Perez said.

Public comment was also welcomed on the Board’s final meeting on Wednesday. Students and faculty from different CSUs attended the meeting to show support or opposition.

While 11 out of the 23 CSU campuses have implemented a student success fee that would fund student progress and help increase graduation rates, students commented on how it is a call for failure.

CSU Fullerton history graduate student Sean Washburn attended the meeting to show his discontent with the student success fee.

“This insidious fee should not exist,” Washburn said. “It will not facilitate students’ success as our overpaid and disconnected administrators try to claim. This fee will ensure student failure. The fee will first push out students who cannot afford their education and hinder future students.”

Although the majority of students present were against the student success fee, a few were in support of it.

“This new fee is intended to support all of our undergraduate students with completing their degree in a timely manner,” said San Diego State student Freddie Sanchez. “The fee will also provide additional academic career experiences that will allow our students the opportunity to advocate where a portion of the funding will be spent within our respected colleges.”

CSU Los Angeles graduate student Pakal Hatuey commented on his support for ethnic studies to become a requirement.

“As a teengaer, I was influenced by the gang culture to hate blacks and despise gays. I mention this because it was ethnic studies classes that has helped me crush and remove these ideas I was taught as a youth,” Hatuey said.