My name is Nadir Vissanjy, and I’m currently serving as Chair of the California State Student Association. This past weekend in San Diego we approved a resolution dubbed “Support for Equitable Pay for Quality Instruction”. I’ve attached it for your convenience. Referring to the article that was written on March 13, I would like to point out some fallacies in the article.
First and foremost, the resolution passed by the Board of Directors is not in support of the California Faculty Association nor is it in support of the California State University Administration. The resolution is in support of “equitable and competitive pay for all employees of the California State University system”. It does support the CSU and CFA “to use the fact-finding report as a means to reach a reasonable solution that addresses the critical issues”. The resolution goes on to state that is would urge CSU and CFA to work with CSSA to lobby for increased support for the CSU system. There were more students who favored neutrality than those who wanted to show support to the system’s faculty. There were those students who favored the CSU Administration, those who believed that the students should be fighting for student’s rights and many other views as well.
I could continue to discuss some of the incorrect statements made in the article, but I would like to discuss the divisiveness of the language used in the article. This was not a “butting heads” of two resolutions, for it was merely one resolution stating that the students should stay out of collective bargaining, authored by Khouloud Elmasri, and a second that supported equitable and competitive pay for all employees of the CSU system, authored by myself and Dina Cervantes. The second resolution that was approved by the board of directors was a concoction of the individuals ASI’s resolutions when Dina and I sat down to write it. We took the nature of all the resolutions and changed some language to make it consistent.
I am highly disappointed that the title and the article are truly misleading. I fear that the misinformation has been disseminated, and there is very little that we as the servants of the students can do to inform them about what the resolution really states. I would urge that in the future the Daily Sundial quote any resolution verbatim in order for an increased level of accuracy. It is important to realize what is explicitly written and not implied, for implications can be misunderstood rather easily. I hope that this email can be printed in the Daily Sundial as a way of informing the CSUN students about what their representatives really did approve this past weekend in San Diego. Thank you for your time.
Nadir Vissanjy Chair California State Student Association
Daily Sundial Staff Response
The Daily Sundial stands by all information in the article. While Mr. Vissanjy’s point that the CSSA endorses “equitable pay” is correct, we urge him, the members of the CSSA, and CSUN students to read over the text of the resolution and come to their own conclusion as to where the document points its loyalties. After talking with other individuals who were at the meeting, the other author of the article knows that her interpretation of events (and the tense, competitive atmosphere of the meeting) is shared by others, and we hope that CSUN students will reach their own interpretation after seeing the entire text of the resolution. The emphasis made on some portions of the resolution is the Sundial’s own.
CSSA Resolution in Support of Equitable Pay for Quality Instruction
Nadir Vissanjy, CSSA Board Chair ‘ Dina Cervantes, Director of Political Awareness, CSU Northridge
WHEREAS, The California State Student Association (CSSA) is recognized as the official representative body for CSU students, and the primary role of CSSA is to advocate for actions and policies that produce an affordable and quality educational system for students; and
WHEREAS, It has always been CSSA’s policy to advocate for fair compensation of all CSU constituencies; and
WHEREAS, The California Faculty Association (CFA) is recognized as the official representative and advocating voice for the faculty, librarians and coaches; and
WHEREAS, The Board of Trustees is the ultimate management authority for the California State University (CSU) and recognizes Chancellor Reed as the Chief Executive Officer; and
WHEREAS, CSSA, CFA, Chancellor Reed, and the Board of Trustees, collectively known as the CSU family, share the vision of the California Master Plan of Higher Education to work united to defend the quality, affordability, and accessibility of the “People’s University”; and
WHEREAS, The climate that currently exists in the contract negotiation process undermines morale at all levels, compromises efforts to provide quality instruction to students, and damages the ability to recruit and retain high quality students, faculty, staff, and administrators; therefore; and
WHEREAS, California has a high cost of living and faculty salaries are not comparable to universities nationally; and
WHEREAS, Due to the CSU $522 million budget cuts during the fiscal years of 2002 to 2004, class sizes have increased, departments have been cut, the ratio of students to faculty has increased, causing students a decline in the quality of education and student life across the state; and
WHEREAS, Large class sizes result in an unmanageable workload for professors; and
WHEREAS, The most vulnerable students have ended their higher education goals because of financial obstacles which have become unbearable, including the rising costs of student fees and books; and
WHEREAS, The total expense of attending the CSU is not limited to fees but also the increasing costs of housing, meals, transportation, and books; and
WHEREAS, Many students, professors, and employees are forced to work more hours and jobs in order to meet their financial obligations in the state of California; and
WHEREAS, low professor salaries inhibit the attraction and retention of qualified professors, which impacts the value of a student’s degree earned in the CSU; and
WHEREAS, Professors who commit their careers to California’s hard-working families and students, by teaching at the “People’s University” deserve adequate and equitable pay; and
WHEREAS, The collective bargaining between CFA and the CSU Administration are in the 22nd month of negotiations and have completed the fact finding phase as outlined in the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act; and
RESOLVED, That CSSA supports equitable and competitive pay for all employees of the California State University system when it does not directly or indirectly encroach on the accessibility and affordability of the system; be it
RESOLVED, That CSSA condemns any entity’s divide and-conquer tactics that undermines students; be it further
RESOLVED, That CSSA urges negotiators for the CSU and CFA to use the fact-finding report as a means to reach a reasonable solution that addresses the critical issue; be it further
RESOLVED, That CSSA affirms its confidence that Chancellor Reed and CFA will work together to achieve an adequate and fair contract that addresses the concerns and needs included above; be it further
RESOLVED, CSSA considers access to higher education a top priority and calls upon the California State Legislature and the Governor to adequately invest in the higher education and strongly recommends that CFA, the CSU, Chancellor Reed and The Board of Trustees join student advocacy efforts; and be it further
RESOLVED, That CSSA strongly calls upon the California Legislature and Governor to address the unmet long term financial needs which currently exists within the CSU and the use of student fees; and be it further
RESOLVED, That CSSA will make public the issues raised in this resolution and distribute copies of t
his resolutions to Governor Schwarzenegger, the California State Legislature, the Chancellor’s Office, Board of Trustees, the California Faculty Association, Academic Senate California State University, the California State University Employee’s Union, California State University Presidents, California State University Associated Students, Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, La Opinion, San Diego Union Tribune, the Ventura Times, the New York Times, the Press Democrat and the Sacramento Bee.
Adopted by the CSSA Board of Directors on Sunday, March 11, 2007.