To the Campus Community:
It was standing room only in the Barrett Ballroom yesterday when we held our all-campus budget forum, and many in attendance made a commitment to advocate on behalf of the CSU system. We’re off to a great start in our advocacy efforts, but there is much more to do – and we need your support.
Because of the state budget crisis, the CSU has launched a major unified advocacy effort to motivate the legislature and the Governor to support alternative options to maintain the state’s investment in the CSU. Currently, budget forums are being held at campuses system wide and participants are being encouraged to spread the word and voice budget concerns to their state legislators. As part of this effort, each member of our San José State community – whether faculty, staff, students, administrators, or alumni – is being asked to play an active advocacy role in supporting the CSU.
In January, when Governor Schwarzenegger announced his proposed 2008/09 budget, it did not include funding for the budget plan approved by the California State University Board of Trustees last November. Faced with a growing $14.5 billion state deficit, the Governor has proposed a $312.9 million or 10 percent cut in state general fund support for the CSU. In addition, the proposed budget does not include funding to cover the $73.2 million necessary to avoid a 10 percent student fee increase. Thus, we are facing an alarming $386.1 million reduction to the CSU budget.
Although the specific budget impact to San José State will not be known until the May budget revision, a 10 percent reduction in funding would mean up to a $15.6 million cut to our current budget. This would affect every aspect of the campus, from availability of services to student graduation rates. At the system level, these proposed cuts would have a devastating impact on student access. The budget reduction – which comes in addition to funding cuts of $522 million between 2002 and 2005 – would mean that the CSU would be unable to provide access to 10,000 qualified students. These cuts would erase significant gains we have made in recent years to increase access for minority and underserved communities.
The Governor’s current budget proposal also would mean more than a $1 billion loss in economic activity for California. Considered the state’s “economic engine,” the CSU returns $4.41 to the California economy for every dollar invested by the state. In addition, the CSU plays a major role in supplying the state’s workforce, particularly in the areas of nursing, teaching, agriculture, business, public administration and technology. The CSU graduates 90,000 students each year, including 87 percent of education graduates, 64 percent of nurses, 65 percent of business professionals, 82 percent of those involved in public administration, and more than half of the state’s graduates in agriculture-related fields.
We must do everything in our power to urge state legislators to restore our budget and protect the state’s investment in higher education. I urge each one of you to help us advocate for the California State University by calling or writing your legislators and asking others to do the same. Let’s take a stand and support the important educational mission of the California State University system and San José State University.
For more information on how you can help, please see http://www.sjsu.edu/comm/units/government/budget0809/.
Thank you for your commitment.
Don W. Kassing