A press conference held by the California Faculty Association Thursday gave an overview of how California’s lack of funding impacted students, specifically students of color, over the last 30 years.
The report, which was researched over several months by the organization, was started as an effort to improve the educational outcomes of the 470,000 CSU students across all 23 campuses. The name of the report, “Equity, Interrupted: How California is Cheating It’s Future,” looks into the data of how the decrease of finances over the past 30 years has reduced the amount of help students get, particularly students of color, to receive an education.
“We care about our students. We faculty are affected when students struggle financially,” Jennifer Eagan, professor of philosophy and public affairs at Cal State East Bay and president of the CFA, said. “When they are worrying about money, students can’t consistently devote their time to a program of study and they will be dropping in and out.”
The California State University (CSU) system provided California with its first public higher education institution. Eager stated that the CSU system is for the public good and is the “people’s university” that is aimed to serve students of all cultures and backgrounds, however, reports show differently.
According to the report, the CSU System in 1985 was spending $11,607 on every CSU student, while in 2015 was only spending about $6,888 per student.
“As the student body of the CSU became darker, funding for the CSU became lighter,” Cecil Canton, CFA associate president and professor of Criminal Justice at Sacramento State, said.
In addition to the report, Jose Cintron, professor of bilingual and multi-cultural education at Sacramento State said the CFA sent a letter to the state in November regarding undocumented students on CSU campuses. The letter emphasized the state’s need to support CSUs in their efforts to provide students with legal help, housing options, and restrictions on ICE being allowed on campuses.
Although the efforts to support students of color have been lacking due to decreasing funds, CSUN has been actively trying to address these issues, like providing legal support to students through the DREAM Center on campus after the presidential election.
“Despite these budget cuts CSUN has made a commitment and has continued to offer programs and services to students of all backgrounds,” said Associated Students President Sevag Alexanian. “For example, our EOP program has been thriving for years and has continued to support programs that deliver access and retention services.”
In addition to addressing support and resources available at CSUN, Associated Students is making an effort to gather personal stories from CSUN students, organize district and capital lobby visits and create social media campaigns to address the pending CSU-wide tuition hike.
Although this report was designated specifically to the lack of higher education funds in California, Gary Roads, from the University of Arizona clarified that decrease in funding education is occurring across the nation.
The release of the report comes ahead of next week’s CSU budget approval from Gov. Brown’s office, which will decrease the amount of funding released to CSU campuses this upcoming fiscal year. The CFA is requesting an additional $180 million to be added to the proposed plan allocated for the entire CSU system for the 2017/2018 year.