Senate discusses university's budget
October 14, 2009 2:29 PM
The SF State Academic Senate met with members of faculty, administration and students in a town hall meeting Oct. 13 to discuss the uncertain future of the university and possible approaches to closing the gap in funding.
The Seven Hills Dining Center hummed with debate as concerned faculty and students bounced ideas off the Academic Senate and other major administrative players about reducing spending and how to best organize against further cuts.
The meeting touched heavily on short- versus long-term planning with regards to cutting programs, and stressed the sensitivity of this process.
"Before we talk about what areas we can afford to cut, maybe we should talk about what areas we can't afford to cut." said assistant physics and astronomy professor Chris McCarthy.
One plan of action that was brought up suggested putting pressure on gubernatorial candidates, starting with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, to acknowledge the crisis facing higher education in California.
Ramon Castellblanch, president of the California Faculty Association SF State chapter, pointed out that if voters demand that Newsom take a stance on the issue, other candidates would be forced to follow suit out of political pressure.
"The entire drama of what happens to our institution will be mainly played out under whoever is the next governor," Castellblanch said.
The town hall also discussed the impact students can have on the decisions of legislature if their energies are effectively combined with CSU employees and focused in the right direction. Associate Director of Government Relations Derek Aiken added that legislators have the most sympathy for students.
"An organized student group of 400,000 -- that's a lot of votes," Aiken said. "That's a lot more than any faculty, staff or administration group could get together."
Raza studies professor and Academic Senator Bridget Davila expressed sympathy for the student body, which has been accused by some of remaining uninvolved and indifferent during this crisis.
"Students are organizing, but my students, at least, are barely hanging on," Davila said. "They've been hit with this huge increase, and they can't get the classes they need. They're trying to take as many classes they can to just get out of here."
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