The ASCSU met virtually, conducted business accordingly.
As with so much University business in these days of the COVID-19 virus, the ASCSU met via Zoom for the March Plenary. In an effort to relieve the stress of working remotely, in general, the Senate Committees deferred resolutions that can wait until the May Plenary, pared down the list of floor speakers, and scheduled more frequent breaks throughout the day.
ASCSU Calls for Appropriate Practices and Policies in light of the COVID-19 Emergency
Given the current safeguards in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, ASCSU has requested that the CSU pursue a number of efforts to support both faculty and staff. These are captured in “Resolution on CSU Accommodations to Faculty Due to the COVID-19 Emergency,” (AS-3418-20/FA) which passed without dissent. These include:
- Faculty control over student perceptions placed in personnel file
- Faculty not penalized for removing student perceptions from their personnel file
- Tenure-track faculty option to add a year toward time to tenure, with no penalty
- Provosts placing a letter in all faculty Personnel Action File explaining conditions in place during the COVID-19 Emergency.
- The right to a safe and clean campus and associated supports.
- Affirmation that faculty-created content is the property of faculty.
- Instructional materials, software, hardware be made readily available
- A return to normal conditions when the COVID Emergency ends.
Please see the Resolution itself for more details on each of the bullets above. The Resolution was approved without dissent.
ASCSU supports progress towards Ethnic Studies requirement.
Having received feedback from the individual campuses, the Chancellor’s Office reached out to ASCSU with regard to firming up what the requirements and implementation of Ethnic Studies might look like. The ASCSU response is captured in the resolution Response to the CSU Chancellor’s Office Memo on Recommended Implementation of a California State University (CSU) Ethnic Studies Requirement (March 17, 2020) (AS-3420-20/AA), which reflected a Senate effort to:
- provide increased flexibility for individual campuses as to both how implementation
- Increased latitude as to the breadth of historically oppressed groups (e.g. Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ, women, etc.) that they include in their curriculum.
ASCSU endorses the importance of facts and expertise.
The Statewide Senate affirmed “the foundational importance of facts and expertise to the national conversation,” as expressed by the American Association of University Professors by passing the resolution (AS3408-20/FA) Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU) Endorsement of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Statement “In Defense of Knowledge and Higher Education. The resolution was unanimously approved.
Call for increased cooperation in establishing transfer pathways
Recently, there has been increased effort between the Community Colleges and the UCs to establish transfer pathways. The ASCSU became concerned that the CSU, which has a long history of designing and implementing transfer pathways, was not participating in this effort as a full intersegmental partner. To change this, the ASCSU passed both Exploring Common Pathways for Transfer to the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) (AS-3413-20/APEP) and Resources to Support CSU Faculty Participation in the Course-Identification Numbering System (C-ID) Process (AS-3414-20/APEP). The combined effect of this part of resolution is to call for increased inclusion of the CSU disciplinary faculty in establishing intersegmental pathways, and for increased financial support to do so from the Chancellor’s Office. Both resolutions were unanimously approved.
The ASCSU established its legislative agenda for the year.
The eleven (11) bills selected for advocacy (support or opposition) are included in the chart addendum to the resolution: 2020 Legislative Advocacy Positions of the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU)(AS-3419-20/FGA), approved without dissent. Please see chart addendum for more details on each.
Chancellor White’s Forewarning about Reduced Funding and Student Enrollment
The Chancellor emphasized that in the face of the current COVID-19 Emergency restrictions, the CSU will be losing funding from a variety of sources, including but not limited to the General Fund due to shifting State priorities. Relatedly, the Chancellor’s Office is planning for a possible student enrollment drop of 20-25%. That statistic is merely a guess at this point, but Chancellor White noted that planning for such a reduction should inform System-wide planning efforts in the short term. He also pointed out that all this will have a long-term as well as a short effect on the System.
It is also possible that changes to how CSU business will get done will be directed by the Governor, rather than the regular channels.
In the meantime, despite the recent CSU hiring slow down, the selection of a new Chancellor is underway.
A more detailed review of Plenary business can be found here: Campus Report March 2020.