On Friday, the California Faculty Association released the results of a membership vote on whether or not to accept two unpaid furlough days a month for one year.
On the furlough, 54% voted in favor of a furlough and 46% voted no. The plan was proposed by CSU Chancellor Charles Reed as a measure to cope with the deep budget deficit facing the university and state.
68 percent of the slightly more than 13,000 members eligible voted
“This vote has been a painful exercise. The choices were terrible,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz, a professor of history at CSU Los Angeles. “There were principled positions on both sides of this thorny question.”
Now that the faculty have voted to accept a furlough, there will be discussions between CFA and the CSU Chancellor’s Office about the specifics of how the furlough will be carried out.
While faculty members voted to accept a furlough, the results of the vote also showed an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the performance of CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and his handling of the budget crisis.
Of those voting, only 4% said they had confidence in the Chancellor’s leadership. 79% voted “no confidence” and 17% responded “don’t know.”
“During the vote, a strong agreement emerged that they want Chancellor Reed and the CSU Board Trustees to wage a strong public campaign to fight for the funding the CSU needs to rebuild,” said John Travis, Chair of the CFA Bargaining Team and a professor of political science at Humboldt State University.
Travis continued, “Unfortunately, the vote of no confidence in the Chancellor’s leadership is a serious, damning indication that the CSU faculty members do not believe that will happen.”
In order to fill the leadership vacuum created by Chancellor Reed’s performance, CFA leaders said the university community – faculty, staff, students, alumni and community supporters – must redouble their efforts to advocate on behalf of public higher education
“We must make sure that the people of California know about the impact of these cuts on our ability to deliver accessible, affordable, and quality education,” said CFA President Taiz.
Taiz continued, “We must make sure that every person in the state knows what their leaders in Sacramento are doing to destroy the greatest university system in the nation. We must all be leaders in the fight to protect and rebuild the California State University.”
At its July 21st meeting, the CSU Board of Trustees finalized a plan to manage the $584 million system-wide cut that includes furloughs, student fee increases, and enrollment reductions.
As a result of the state budget cut to the CSU system, California State University, Stanislaus will have to reduce its 2009-10 budget by an additional $5 – $9 million. In addition, employees will furlough 24 days between August 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, student fees will increase 20 percent for Fall 2009, and admissions are closed for the 2010 Winter and Spring terms.
Dr. Hamid Shirvani, President of CSU Stanislaus, said, “It is impossible to define the enormity of this economic meltdown and its devastating impact on higher education. For California State University, Stanislaus, we are talking about decreasing access in an area where higher education is the key to economic development and prosperity.”