CSU and Employees Union Have New Contract
The California State University and the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) have reached agreement on a new three-year contract. The contract, which is retroactive to July 2011 and extends until June 2014, includes salary reopeners for fiscal years 2012-13 and 2013-14, but not for the current fiscal year.
The CSUEU represents more than 15,000 employees, including administrative and technical support, and healthcare and service workers.
“We appreciate that the CSUEU leadership brought their members together and participated in meaningful negotiations that resulted in a new agreement,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “CSUEU’s many members are integral to the operation of the university and provide countless valuable contributions to the success of more than 420,000 students.”
“This was a tough time to bargain for both sides,” said CSUEU VP for Representation Russell Kilday-Hicks. “We appreciate the CSU’s engagement at the table, and, though we faced off on many issues, this isn’t the time to be fighting internally, considering all the external challenges we jointly face. I hope we can continue to work together to address such issues as state funding and movement through salary ranges as we move forward.”
The contract was ratified by CSUEU members on March 16 and was approved by the CSU Board of Trustees at its meeting Tuesday. More information: calstate.edu/laborrel, www.csueu.org.
Further Budget Cuts Could Mean Grim Choices
Faced with the prospect of an additional $200 million budget cut, the CSU?s Board of Trustees Tuesday discussed the possibility of reducing enrollment, laying off employees, reducing classes, and eliminating low-enrollment academic programs and degrees.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2012-13 state budget calls for the same level of state support for the CSU as this year provided voters pass a November tax initiative. If that measure fails, the CSU could face an additional $200 million cut which would drop the university’s level of state support to $1.8 billion — the lowest level since 1996-97 — but the CSU is now serving 90,000 more students.
The CSU currently has a $510 million budget shortfall, the result of state funding reductions and mandatory cost increases. The deficit exceeds replacement revenues from student tuition fee increases. The CSU has implemented cost cutting measures and has increased efficiencies but these measures cannot close the gap.
The CSU has decreased faculty and staff by more than 3,000 or 6.6 percent of its workforce over the past four years. In addition, class sizes have increased, faculty have been asked to teach more, and administrative functions have been consolidated.
But university officials warned these measures may not be enough. “We must consider other drastic options if our budget is cut again,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor for Budget Robert Turnage. “Those would include reducing enrollment 20,000 to 25,000 students, cutting the number of classes that are offered, and further reductions in the size of the CSU?s workforce. By the 2013-14 academic year, these reductions could involve another 2,500 to 3,000 faculty and staff. These are terrible choices, and we will need to start making many decisions before we know the outcome of the election.”
The CSU plans to cut enrollment for 2013-14 by closing most of its campuses for spring admissions. Eight CSU campuses will take applications only for community college transfer students who complete the Associate Degree for Transfer, which was made possible through recent legislation (Senate Bill 1440).
In addition, the CSU plans to wait-list all eligible students applying for fall 2013 until after the November 6 election when the outcome of the governor’s tax measure is known. Limits will be set on the number of courses students can take to ensure that enrolled students have fair access to the limited supply of courses. Students will be able to take 15 to 17 credits each term, depending on the types of courses, and exceptions will be allowed for graduating seniors.
The board asked the chancellor to examine alternatives for balancing the budget and to return in May for a wide-ranging consideration of all options.
Cal-Grant Changes Would Impact Students
The Board of Trustees Tuesday reviewed the impact of the governor’s proposed changes to the Cal-Grant program, which would increase GPA requirements for recipients.
Approximately 8,000 newly enrolled CSU students would be affected in the first year, with more students impacted in subsequent years. The students impacted would still have financial needs, and the loss of Cal-Grant funding would put added pressure on the CSU?s financial aid resources such as state university grants.
The CSU already provides $700 million in state university grant aid, and currently cannot meet all student needs.
Harrison Named President at Northridge
The Board of Trustees has named Dianne F. Harrison, president of California State University, Monterey Bay, as president of California State University, Northridge.
Harrison has been president of Monterey Bay since 2006 following a 30-year career at Florida State University where she served as a faculty member, dean of social work, associate vice president for academic affairs, dean of graduate studies and vice president for academic quality and external programs.
Harrison holds a Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s of social work and a bachelor’s in American Studies, both from the University of Alabama. Her academic and research areas of expertise include HIV prevention among women and minority populations and higher education issues related to social work and university leadership. A prolific researcher and writer, Harrison has published dozens of articles and two books.
Harrison succeeds Jolene Koester, who retired as president of Northridge in December 2011. Northridge Provost Harold Hellenbrand has been serving as interim president. Harrison will assume her new position in June.