Response to Governor Davis’ Announcement to
Develop a Plan for Required Public Service

AS-2455-99/AA - May 6-7, 1999

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University urge the Governor and the Legislature to work with the CSU Chancellor, Board of Trustees, California Faculty Association, campus presidents, campus senates, and community service and service-learning practitioners to determine the appropriate resources and mechanisms to provide the opportunities and incentives necessary to engage CSU students in meaningful service activities rather than mandate service experiences; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU applaud the many community service and service learning programs that exist in the CSU and commend them to the attention of the Governor; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU look forward to receiving a formal proposal from the Governor for consideration by CSU faculty.

RATIONALE: The Academic Senate CSU recognizes that student participation in community service and service learning enhances student academic learning, provides a context for theory through practical application in the community, fosters civic engagement and career exploration, and at the same time meets the needs of California communities.

Furthermore, the Academic Senate CSU recognizes that each CSU campus provides opportunities for students to participate in community service and service learning. As a result, 49% of CSU students provide over 28 million hours of service to California communities each year [Student Needs and Priorities Survey (SNAPS) 1994].

The CSU campuses have already developed opportunities and incentives to involve students in community service through the establishment of student-run community service programs and student service recognition awards, the development of coordination of service-learning courses; and the creation of programs such as America Reads, America Counts, Pre-Collegiate Academic Development, Human Corps, EPIC, Upward Bound, VISTA and Americorps programs, and university-wide days of service. Some CSU students receive stipends or work-study funds for their service work to support their educational endeavors.

The Academic Senate CSU acknowledges that service, and the learning that is associated with service, are valuable aspects of a higher education, yet research demonstrates that mandatory service requirements on college students undermine the future behaviors of intentions to volunteer for those students who do not currently feel free to volunteer (Stukas, Snyder, Clary, 1999). Fostering an ethic of service is more appropriately met with incentives and opportunities. Mandated community service for all CSU students would require commitment of substantial additional resources in order to implement. In addition, not all students are suited to participate in community service and may create both liability and public relations issues for the CSU.

APPROVED — May 6-7, 1999

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