Soapbox

The state – not the faculty – is failing the CSU and our students

Facts and ethics are at the core of responsible journalism, but The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board fell short.

The editorial (“Linda Katehi’s salary is not real faculty pay outrage,” Aug. 3) baited readers as it appeared to give voice to the collective outrage over former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi’s $318,200 salary to teach a single course.

But the editorial instead rages at the 28,000 hardworking faculty of the California State University – a completely different system with a different budget and needs.

These are the faculty who carried the CSU through hard times. We took a pay cut during the recession, and saw salaries languish for seven years with no significant raises. Many faculty members were barely getting by; some slipped below the poverty line. Even the CSU administration recognized that median salaries of $46,000 a year for professionals with advanced degrees was shameful.

The California Faculty Association secured a well-deserved raise of 10.5 percent over three years. Yet even now, the highest paid CSU faculty members take home a fraction of Katehi’s paycheck.

A cursory glance at CSU tuition hikes shows no connection to faculty salary increases, including the recent increase of $270 per student that faculty fiercely fought at the board of trustees and the Legislature. A quick look at the CSU budget shows that the $77 million from higher tuition is tied to the $75 million graduation initiative.

Our students know they are paying more because the state won’t invest enough in the CSU. The state is spending less per student today, when nearly 3 out of 4 are students of color, than it did in 1985, when the majority of CSU students were white.

The state – not the faculty – is failing the CSU and our students. The Bee’s editorial board should stop trying to distract us from the real outrage: the state’s disinvestment in the CSU, which has resulted in our students and their families suffering increased cost and more debt.

In the meantime, the CSU faculty will keep doing our jobs and ensuring our students receive the high quality education they deserve.

Jennifer Eagan, a professor of philosophy and public affairs administration at CSU East Bay, is president of the California Faculty Association. She can be contacted at jeagan@calfac.org.

  Comments