Sunday, March 7, 2010

CCSU Professors Speak Out for Solidarity in Confronting State Budget Crisis

Statement on the Connecticut Budget Crisis, March 1, 2010

On February 22, 2010, CSU-AAUP President David Walsh sent a letter alerting CSU-AAUP union members of the gravity of the State of Connecticut’s budget deficit and the likelihood that some CSU departments, programs, and employees will be terminated with the next biennial budget.  According to President Walsh’s letter, Connecticut has already borrowed $1.2 billion to bridge its budget shortfall and estimates predict the deficit will grow another billion dollars by June 2010 and an additional three to four billion dollars during fiscal year 2011-2012. 
These budget deficits are not the fault of university employees, nor the fault of students.  Instead, they represent a failure of our nation’s economic and political system fed by an economy of low wages and high debt, foreign wars, a lack of stable, well-paid jobs, and long-term problems in the nation’s health care and retirement systems.   In this is moment of crisis, we cannot be bystanders as administrators and politicians undermine our university’s mission.   Higher education is essential to a vibrant economy and we must ensure that Connecticut residents have access to affordable, quality education.  The state’s economy will not be fixed by adding university employees to the ranks of the unemployed, but eroding our education system puts everyone’s future at risk.  

As faculty we have fought for shared governance, recognizing our unique insight into what it takes to create a quality education.  In keeping with this fundamental principle, we insist that:
  • ·       There can be no cuts in education or student services. The excellence of our university must be maintained.
  • ·       All university budgetary matters must be made transparent; faculty, staff, and students must participate in all decisions concerning cost saving measures. 
  • ·       There can be no faculty or staff layoffs.  Administrators must not be given preferential treatment in terms of pay raises or retention bonuses.  The retention of our fine faculty and staff must be the first priority.
  • ·       Affirmative action must be defended.  Reduced budgets cannot be used to undermine the creation of a diversity faculty, staff, and student body. 
  • ·       The budget deficit must not be passed on to our students. We stand against increases in tuition and fees, and any measures that compromise the quality and affordability of our students’ education. 

We also recognize the power of democratically-organized unions to enact positive social change.  This will be accomplished through broad discussion and decision-making among the membership.  Even though budget cuts have already increased our workload, we must make room in our professional lives for union participation and we call on our union representatives to facilitate open discussion through regular and meaningful meetings in which members make decisions together.  Finally, we recognize the importance of standing in solidarity with CSU staff, students, and other unions, including, but not limited to those within the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition.  We call upon staff, students, and other unions to enter the discussion that we begin with his statement and make suggestions as to how best to meet this crisis.  Together, we can move beyond legislative politics and build a powerful movement, just as the faculty and students of the University of California have begun to do.  


Briann Greenfield, Chair, CCSUProfs4Progress 
Steven Adair
Mike Alewitz
Sheri Fafunwa-Ndibe
Kathy Hermes
Jeffry McGowan
Serafín Méndez-Méndez
Rachael Siporin
Robert Wolff


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