Cal Poly Pomona CSU Academic Senator Jay Swartz was recently appointed by the CSU Senate Executive Committee as the senate’s legislative specialist.
Now in his second term as a statewide senator after a vote of the university’s full-time faculty, Swartz also previously served four terms representing the College of Business Administration in the Cal Poly Pomona Academic Senate.
“My job, in fact, is multifaceted,” says Swartz, a professor in the international business and marketing department. “I am to some extent the face of the CSU faculty around the state legislature and in that capacity I need to convey our system’s needs to members of both chambers, the Senate and the Assembly.
“I therefore am expected to serve dual roles of information gathering and conveyance, in addition to advocacy in articulating positions of benefit to our almost 25,000 faculty members in addition to our 440,000 students and roughly 25,000 staff.”
Besides representing Cal Poly Pomona and the CSU, Swartz also engages with colleagues in similar roles at the University of California, the state’s community colleges, and groups such as the California Faculty Association and the California State Student Association.
Part of his role includes serving as a legislative watchdog, specifically for bills that could potentially impact the CSU.
During his first term as a CSU senator, he was assigned fiscal and legislative affairs duties, taking a close look at the state’s education budget and proposals that might help or hinder the CSU mission.
He spent 10 to 15 hours a day in the closing weeks of the statewide election in 2012 to help push for the passage of Proposition 30, a measure that temporarily increased income taxes on Californians earning more than $250,000 annually and sales tax by a quarter of a cent.
“We were in what was arguably our most severe financial position in history, and we desperately needed this infusion of state sales-tax revenue to curtail even more drastic cutbacks that would have damaged the quality of our product,” he said.
“By talking to radio station personnel, newspaper writers and editors, television talk-show hosts, and being present daily on blog sites, we were able to dispel much of the misinformation circulating,” Swartz recalls. “It thankfully led to California voters wisely investing in education, and that outcome made all the hundreds of hours worthwhile.”