Objection to Unilateral Decision Making and the Pursuit of a
“Culture of Compliance” in the CSU


RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate California State University (ASCSU) note the relentless move, over the past several years, toward unilateral administrative decision making and the pursuit of a “culture of compliance” within the CSU, as evidenced by the recent “deliverology”-based graduation initiatives, alternative policy-making venues (delivery teams, administratively appointed non-representative advisory committees, and others), and other non-representative forms of decision making; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU acknowledge that such non-collaborative decision making obscures transparency, stifles public discourse, reduces opportunities for input from relevant groups and consensus building , and circumvents accountability; it also violates existing shared governance policies and procedures and institutionalizes a culture of compliance that is contrary to the mission of the CSU as a public university and threatens academic excellence in the CSU system; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU reaffirm its role as “the official voice of the faculty in matters of systemwide concern” within the “collegial form of governance . . . based on historic traditions as recognized by California law,” as affirmed in the Constitution of the ASCSU; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU request that the CSU Chancellor’s Office honor its obligation to maintain shared governance principles and standards as established in “Collegiality in The California State University System,” declared in the 1985 Board of Trustees’ Report of the Board of Trustees’ Ad Hoc Committee on Governance, Collegiality in the California State University, and confirmed in the 2001 ASCSU report Shared Governance Reconsidered: Improving Decision-making in the California State University; and be it further

RESOLVED: That this resolution be forwarded to the CSU Board of Trustees, campus presidents, and the campus senates.

RATIONALE:The history of the CSU and Academic Senates (both at the system and campus level) is one of commitment to shared governance.  Recent decisions related to educational policy and faculty rights by the CSU and campus administrations contravene the principles of a culture of collegiality and suggest a powerful and strategic bypassing of truly collaborative shared governance as defined by statute and the BOT’s policies.  The result, we believe, is a preferred “culture of compliance,” where decisions are made and announced to faculty under the guise of consultation rather than regularly engaging faculty in decision making at the formative stages.  “Compliance” is a term common to regulatory industries, and efforts to instill a “culture of compliance” within these industries is seen as essential to developing within the rank and file conformity of behavior. Yet, such an approachis contrary to the way decisionshave historicallybeen made within the Academy.

Illustrative of what appears to be a systematic disengagement with faculty are:

  • The frequent absence of Trustees and the Chancellor from ASCSU meetings; the identification of the faculty in general and the Academic Senate in particular by Presidents and Provosts at an October 2009 meeting as obstacles to reform;
  • The failure to make public several task force reports, including the report on Early Start, the introduction of initiatives without prior review by the ASCSU in accordance with previously standard practice; and
  • The formation without faculty participation of a special President’s ad hoc group to discuss reforms to General Education. 

Although the ASCSU does not necessarily challenge the merit of these endeavors, it abhors the abrogation of the principles of shared governance and hopes that the Administration returns to normal collaborative shared governance.

Approved – May 6-7, 2010



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