March 1, 2008
To the Editor:
The California State University, with 23 campuses, is the largest and most diverse four-year higher education system in the United States. At least 53 percent of our students are ethnic minorities (more than twice the national average), and 40 percent come from households where English is not the primary language.
We C.S.U. faculty, students and administrators have been experiencing firsthand the reverse in economic mobility you reported this week (“Study Says Education Gap Could Further Limit Poor,” news article, Feb. 20).
C.S.U.’s budget was slashed by more than half a billion dollars in 2003 and 2004. Now, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes a 10 percent across-the-board cut in state financing that would leave our state university $386 million deeper in the hole. These cuts would directly affect California’s economy and people.
Campuses have already made application dates earlier to stem enrollment. If the cuts are carried out, C.S.U. will be forced to turn away qualified students, eliminate class offerings and cut student services that help guide students to graduation.
Student fees, which have doubled since 2002, would be raised yet again. The most disturbing part of this is that we know that college provides a solid path into the middle class, thereby allowing our graduates to contribute more to society, to the economy and to states’ revenues.
In a state like California that depends on innovation to support its economy, cutting C.S.U. is shooting us all in our collective foot. We hope that in the coming weeks, the governor will change his mind about slashing the higher education budget and crushing the hopes of the people of California.
Los Angeles, Feb. 21, 2008
The writer is president of the California Faculty Association and a professor of history at Cal State Los Angeles.