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University News

Campus Leaders Make Appeal to Legislators

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BY VALERIE ORLEANS
From Dateline (April 22, 2004)

In a first for Cal State Fullerton, the university president, the chair of the Academic Senate and the president
of the campus chapter of the California Faculty Association traveled to Sacramento to visit elected officials on the need to control further budget cuts to the California State University system, and particularly, to Cal State Fullerton. Pictured with Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher (R-Brea) are, from left, Gangadharappa Nanjundappa, CFA chapter president and professor of sociology; Leon J. Gilbert, Academic Senate Chair and professor of modern languages and literatures; and President Milton A. Gordon.

In a historic first for the campus, the university president, the Academic Senate chair and the California Faculty Association chapter president, joined together last week in Sacramento to meet with elected officials to advocate on behalf of Cal State Fullerton and the CSU.

“We want to make it clear that continuing cuts to the CSU system and Cal State Fullerton, in particular, would begin to affect our mission of providing a high-caliber education to all deserving students,” said Gordon, who was joined by Academic Senate Chair Lee Gilbert, professor of modern languages and literatures, and CFA Chapter President Gangadharappa Nanjundappa, professor of sociology. Student representatives were invited as well, but were unable to arrange their schedules to accompany them.

The governor has proposed cutting $240 million, or nine percent, from the CSU for 2004-05 fiscal year. Ultimately, the cuts may be more extensive.

“Education is viewed favorably in Sacramento, but we were warned that we could receive an additional two to three percent cut,” Gordon noted. “What that means is that we could be saying ‘no’ to a larger group of deserving students; we simply wouldn’t have the funding to handle additional growth at this time.”

While in Sacramento, the three campus leaders met with state Sen. Minority Leader Jim Brulte (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher (R-Brea), a policy consultant for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) and a representative of state Sen. President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco).

In May, the Department of Finance will announce a revision of the proposed 2004-05 state budget.

“We wanted to make sure to meet with our elected officials prior to the May revise,” said Nanjundappa. “By working together, we hope to make an impact on some of their upcoming decisions.”

“If cuts need to be made, avoiding layoffs is a top priority,” said Gordon. “It is a tradition on this campus to do everything we can to protect our core mission of teaching and learning. In order to achieve this, we need to retain our excellent faculty and staff.”

“Maintaining an excellent academic environment is foremost in our minds,” said Gilbert. “We work very hard to ensure the academic integrity of our campus. For that reason, we want to ensure that we have quality faculty teaching our students.”

“We also want the CSU and each campus to have the ability to make decisions on how and where cuts will be made,” Gordon said. “Each campus is different, and we know best what areas may be most critical.

“Education is unique in that you can’t simply dismantle a program and then put it back together again at a later time,” he continued. “Our educational system, built on the premise of providing accessible, affordable education, is in danger. We must do what we can to ensure that our educational system – and our individual campuses – continue to carry out the important work of educating the citizens of our state and communities.”

Gordon also indicated that there may be future meetings with leaders in Sacramento.



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