Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
July 21, 2009
I, too, congratulate trustees Hauck and Mendoza on the Senate’s confirmation of their appointments to this board. This was a unanimous vote.
As Chair Bleich said, this is a horrible time for public higher education in the United States, especially California. In my 40 years in government service, I have never seen a fiscal meltdown like this. Today, we heard comments expressing frustration about access to higher education by current students, their siblings, and their children, plus concerns about getting the classes needed to graduate.
Our choices in dealing with the budget range from bad to worse.
The CSU is a great system and serves more students than any other university system in the nation. I want to maintain it as best we can. My goals have been to protect student access and quality of education, and to protect as many jobs as we can. I understand that furloughs place economic hardships on our employees and their families, but there are few alternatives. Fiscally, we are a people intensive organization. The budget agreement in Sacramento last night does not change the $584 million cut to the CSU.
We have a four-point plan: cut $275 million in expenses through furloughs or reduction in workforce, increase student fees, reduce enrollment over two years, and allocate $183 million in further cuts on an equitable basis to the campuses. Essentially, all segments of the university will share the pain and make sacrifices.
Beginning on June 3, our labor groups were notified of the budget cuts and the potential impact on employees. During the week of June 10, the labor groups had an opportunity to discuss the election of furloughs as one means to reduce personnel costs. By close of business on Tuesday, July 28, agreements must be in place regarding furloughs, or we will proceed to implement contract provisions. Weeks have passed since initiating discussions with our labor representatives; we need closure because the semester campuses need to plan for their August 24 opening.
I will provide the trustees with reports on campus implementation of the budget reductions at upcoming meetings. Obviously, there is a difference between looking a budget cut number and seeing how that translated into campus operations.
Chair Bleich, this concludes my report.