CSU Foundation Board of Governors Report

Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Foundation Board of Governors Report
Long Beach, CA
December 10, 2015

Thank you all for being here.

These past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for the California State University community. We have witnessed two attacks that violently cut short the lives of a student and multiple alumni.

Last month, I joined the Long Beach State family in a moving vigil for Nohemi Gonzalez… the student who was senselessly killed in the terrorist attacks in Paris…

And just last week, the horrific attack in San Bernardino left a community in shock. Public safety and communications staff mobilized to keep students on campus safe and informed during the search for the shooters that spread beyond the immediate area of the attack.

Particularly, I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to the Cal State San Bernardino university police officers who joined their colleagues in responding to the shooting.

As more became known of the perpetrators and victims, the leadership at Cal State San Bernardino continued to keep students, faculty and staff informed.

Nine victims injured or killed in the attack graduated from San Bernardino. Alumni from Pomona, Fullerton and UC Riverside, my previous home before coming here, were also lost.

The moving campus tributes continue… demanding quick action from campus facilities and planning staff. These events require heavy lifting… with heavy hearts.

It speaks to the tremendous professionalism of our people that so many pieces come together in these situations as the community mourns. I know that we all join the campuses in supporting the families and friends of the victims in any way we can.

Long Beach State has already created a fund to support international study in honor of Nohemi Gonzalez. It would be appropriate for the CSU Foundation to consider how we might contribute.

And while we will continue to process this tragedy, we have proven once again that our values as a community are infinitely stronger than any act of hatred, ignorance or violence…
These times of tragedy remind us about ourselves… about what is truly at our core. We stand together.

The CSU continues to negotiate in good faith with union leadership… and we have held true to our promise to begin addressing long-standing salary issues.

Here are the contours – in brief – of the CSU investment in faculty since I got here:

  • In 2013-14, faculty – along with most employees – received a 1.34 percent increase to their compensation pool… that year we gave no increases to executives
  • In 2014-15, the increase to the compensation pool for faculty was 3 percent – some $46 million
  • Campuses have also committed more than $16.4 million to date – above and beyond the system’s compensation pool – toward faculty equity programs
  • And the university now employs more faculty than at any other time in its history and is hiring more new tenure-track faculty than at any time since before the recession

Against this backdrop, the CSU offered a compensation pool increase of 2 percent for faculty… at a cost of $33 million. The CFA proposal of 5 percent in general salary increases plus additional targeted increases, along with the resulting “me-too” clauses in other union contracts, would cost another $107.2 million.

My goal as chancellor has always been to take care of our people – but I must also take care that the CSU is meeting its mission for our students and for the people of California. This requires a balanced approach to budgeting.

Today, we are in the fact-finding stage of collective bargaining with CFA… as we try to work toward an agreement.

We recently ratified an agreement with one of our smaller bargaining units. All other unions are essentially settled and continue to enjoy strong collaboration with the representatives for our staff employees.

I spoke earlier about balancing the many priority areas for the CSU. Likely the best representation of that balancing act is our budget request to the state.

This year, the CSU will make a strong case with state policymakers for an increase of nearly $300 million over last year.

As we did last year, we are targeting that funding at areas of highest priorities:

  • The largest piece will go to our highest priority – our students. The CSU would dedicate $110 million to a three percent enrollment growth… with another $50 million going to empower the success of current students.
  • Nearly $70 million will go to our employees as a two percent compensation pool. Recruiting and retaining quality employees is the way we sustain the quality of the CSU.
  • The remaining funds will be split between critical facility and infrastructure needs… and those mandatory cost increases the CSU must pay – like health care.

I know that there will be some reluctance in Sacramento, perhaps more than last year. Some lawmakers may feel that the CSU “was taken care of” in the previous budget.

We cannot let this kind of thinking go unchallenged. Funding the CSU is not a haphazard commitment that can be taken up one year and forgotten the next.

Adequate and sustained increases in funding are critical if we are to meet the state’s need for an educated workforce and society.

The CSU recently got a boost in that message when the Public Policy Institute of California, followed by others, put out a report projecting a shortfall of 1.1 million bachelor’s educated workers by 2030.

Closing this gap will require a CSU faculty and staff that is putting forth maximum effort. It means pushing ourselves to be resourceful and innovative. But we cannot succeed on our own.

At your seat are a pair of socks from the Stand with CSU campaign that was successful last year.

It was so successful in rallying our supporters that a national and communications association awarded the program with two of its highest awards …

But, the campaign is not over. We must continue to have partners willing to step up and Stand with CSU in the capital, business community and education community. This year will be the faces and stories of our students.

And we must have strong leadership in every region of California.

That brings me to my last point, our presidential searches. You all know how important our presidents are ­– both to the campuses they serve and the regional partnerships they lead.

We are currently in five searches:

  • Channel Islands
  • Chico
  • San José
  • Sonoma
  • Stanislaus

Searches are fluid and there is always a possibility that the schedule may change. However, I anticipate we will announcements at the next three meetings of the trustees.

Thank you again for the opportunity to share this report.