|Deborah Campbell said the reductions, “cut deep into the fiber of each of our lives.”|
|Students sign the Alliance for the CSU pledge.|
|Gwen Urey faces a crowd of more than 950 people.|
“CSU is the Solution” was the resounding message at a campus-wide event on April 8 that rallied more than 950 people in support of the California State University system.
Leaders from all corners of campus, in addition to CSU Trustee Lou Monville, led the call-to-action to send a strong message to the Governor and the Legislature that they should not balance the state's troubled budget at the expense of the CSU.
The Governor's proposed budget calls for a $386 million cut to the CSU's budget. That proposal could raise fees for students by 10 percent and reduce Cal Poly Pomona's budget by $20 million. To put it in perspective: that's more than the total budget for the College of Agriculture.
“The scope of this action would be felt all across the campus,” university President Michael Ortiz said. “That means fewer classes, less services, a longer time to graduate and higher costs for our students. The four- to five-year college plan may hit double digits if we don't do something about it. There is no question that we will have less faculty and staff than we do today.”
The event was held in the University Quad during U-Hour. The panel also included Academic Senate Chair John Self, CFA Chapter President Gwen Urey, CSUEU Chapter President Deborah Campbell, ASI President Chris Wyrick, ASI Vice President Brittany Yates, and student Rocio Navarro, from the group Students for Quality Education. Dr. Carol Smith of Unit 1and Chief Steward Cynthia Brown of APC Unit 4, also participated.
Trustee Monville spoke about the CSU's impact on the state's workforce and economy. At the CSU's current rate of economic return, the proposed budget cuts to the university system would remove more than $1 billion from the state's economy as California leaders grapple with an ongoing budget deficit.
“For every dollar invested in the CSU, the state gets a $4.41 return,” Trustee Monville said. “The CSU is the economic engine of this state, and we need to remind everyone of that fact.”
In addition to a significant impact on the state's economy, the cuts would have drastic effects at Cal Poly Pomona. Campbell addressed that impact and the consequences of the state's last round of budget reductions in 2005.
“Three years after barely recuperating from major cuts to the CSU budget, we are once again wrestling with a proposal that will cut deep into the fiber of each of our lives,” she said. “We cannot sustain additional cuts, further staff reduction, or attempts to undermine our valuable, trained staff.”
There is no doubt that the cuts would have a profound impact on students, according to many of the speakers. On a system-wide level, 10,000 qualified students would not be admitted this fall alone. Cal Poly Pomona would have to turn away more than 1,300 qualified transfer students and/or first-time freshmen for the fall of 2008. Current students may also see a reduction in classes and other services.
“Faculty teach because we care. We teach because we feel a strong commitment to our students,” said Self, who in addition to leading the Academic Senate is a professor for The Collins School of Hospitality Management. “We take it personally when our students are threatened. We take it personally when we have to say 'no' to students who want to add our class. We take it personally when we know our classes are too large.”
This event and many others at CSU campuses have been an attempt to sway the Governor from severe cuts to the CSU before he submits his revised budget, known as the May Revise, to the Legislature.
“I want to make sure you understand that this is a time for action,” Ortiz said.
All members of the audience were encouraged to sign the Alliance for the CSU pledge and contact their elected officials.
To learn more about the Alliance for the CSU, visit http://www.allianceforthecsu.org/.
To read up on how the proposed cuts could impact Cal Poly Pomona visit, http://www.cpp.edu/~adm_affairs/budget/.