Financing the Implementation of the Master Plan for Higher Education

AS-2662-04/FA/FGA - March 6-7, 2004

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU) decry the continuing failure of the State of California to provide adequate funding for the California State University; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU ask the citizens of California and their elected leaders to reconsider the consequences of undermining the State's long-standing social contract with those of its citizens in low and middle-income groups who are unable to meet the cost of baccalaureate and graduate or professional education; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU ask the citizens of California and their elected leaders to reconsider the consequences for the state's economic well-being of limiting access to the higher education that will drive the state's economy for the foreseeable future; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU reaffirm its commitment to the cherished principles of affordability, access, and high quality contained in California's Master Plan for education; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU respectfully ask the California Legislature to generate and make available to the CSU revenue that would restore the social contract between the State and its citizens, thereby re-enabling the state to move toward restoration of its once-premier stature in the world economy; and be it further

RESOLVED: That this resolution be forwarded to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, legislative leaders in the State Assembly and Senate, and media throughout California.

RATIONALE: The respective roles of government and individual citizens in any society are defined by a social contract that explicitly or implicitly specifies the expectations and responsibilities of each. In California, since the early years of the 20th century under the leadership of Governors Hiram Johnson, William Stephens, C.C. Young, Frank Merriam, Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight, and Edmund G. ("Pat") Brown there has been an unwritten social contract that assured citizens of government protection for the welfare of the very young, the low-income elderly, the infirm, and the disabled.

The State of California has for nearly 50 years included in that broad social contract the promises defined in the Master Plan for Higher Education (1960). As a result of the access to education assured by the Master Plan, the California State University (CSU) has provided the state with many hundreds of thousands of well-educated and well-trained professionals who have contributed their expertise to California, thereby contributing to the status of this state as the world's sixth-largest economy and generating by virtue of their work many hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the State.

The first major budget crisis of the new millennium has been so great in its scope, and so deep, that the survival of California's social contract with its citizens is in jeopardy, one specific consequence of that; and California has been unable to maintain its commitment to providing opportunity for California's diverse population to attain a moderately priced and high quality university education: in 2003-2004, because of reduced funding, the California State University was unable to enroll 5000 qualified students, and in 2004-2005 further budget reductions are likely to result in denial of access to the CSU of an additional 20,000 students. If this trend continues over the next five years 100,000 students will be denied access to the CSU. Operationally, this means that the economic and social future of California will be profoundly and for many decades jeopardized by the inadequacy of proposed funding levels for the state's institutions of higher education for 2004-2005 and their resulting inability to educate the teachers and child-care workers, nurses and other health care professionals, engineers, researchers, environmentalists, urban planners, linguists fluent in foreign-languages, corporate managers and leaders, and the multitude of other specialists whose expertise has built California's role in the world economy. It means also that the funding levels proposed by the governor's budget are so limited that they threaten to diminish the quality of teaching and learning in the CSU, further eroding the economic and social well-being of the state.

But California's political leadership has the authority to increase state revenues or to revise the social contract in an open and considered arena. It is the belief of the Academic Senate CSU that the California legislature needs both to review in open hearings the state's commitment to the Master Plan for Higher Education and if it wishes to maintain that commitment to reconsider its ongoing reluctance to enhance state revenues by the simple and equitable strategy of increasing taxes for the state's wealthiest citizens. It is, further, the belief of the Academic Senate CSU that if the state is going to revise its social contract with its citizens that the consideration should take place in open hearings, the appropriate forum for a change of such magnitude.


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