September 12, 2012

TO: All CSU Employees

FROM: Chancellor Charles B. Reed

RE: Beginning of the 2012-13 Academic Year

Welcome back to a new academic year at the California State University. This is an exciting time on our campuses as new and returning students begin another year of learning and reaching their goals. The CSU is more than 427,000 students strong, and each of these students brings a unique perspective and set of experiences. I am proud to be a part of such a diverse, dynamic, and life-changing institution.

During the past 14 years, I have seen the CSU open its 23rd campus; grow by more than 100,000 students; launch programs throughout the state to reach traditionally underserved students; and win national recognition for outreach, accountability, community service, “green” innovations, K-12 partnerships, and countless academic achievements. I have also been honored to sign more than a million diplomas for our graduates.

However, while our campuses all around the state continue to excel in serving students, it has been an especially difficult year in Sacramento. Facing a nearly $16 billion deficit, the legislature and the governor have adopted a state budget that keeps the CSU’s budget essentially flat for this year, with one important caveat: If the governor’s tax measure on the November ballot fails, the CSU will face an additional $250 million mid-year “trigger” cut. This means the CSU will have lost almost $1.2 billion or 39 percent of its state support since 2007-08.

To prepare for this possibility, the CSU has been meeting and holding consultative discussions with its stakeholders to gather input and feedback on budget options. If the CSU does face the $250 million “trigger” cut, we will have to look at a range of options including administrative efficiencies, student tuition fee increases, changes in health care benefits cost-sharing (subject to negotiation with employee bargaining units) and campus-specific strategies.

To say that this situation is frustrating and disappointing would be a massive understatement. I came to the CSU more than 14 years ago because I believed so strongly in the mission of the system. I truly feel that the CSU does more to uplift California’s students and its future economy than any other institution in the state. Every dollar invested in the CSU brings back a phenomenal return for the state. The early authors of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education understood this when they first created a role for the CSU system. I only wish that our current policymakers held true to the same ideals.

Although this is the last fall that I will be welcoming you back as chancellor, I expect to continue to be advocating both here in California and across the country for access and opportunity in public higher education. I urge all of you to continue to do the same. If the California State University has changed your life, enriched your career, or given you inspiration for the future, please share that with your legislators in Sacramento. I believe that they need to hear all of our voices – more than 2.5 million of us who have either attended the CSU or been involved in it in some way – to understand the true significance of this university system.

Thank you for all that you do to make the California State University such an outstanding institution.

Last Updated: September 12, 2012