Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Legislative Day – State of the CSU Address
Sacramento, CA
March 18, 2003

Good morning. Thank you all for coming here to support the California State University on Legislative Day.

A special thanks to our teams who organized today's events: the CSU Alumni Council, the CSU's Governmental Affairs office, the CSU's Advancement Division, and all of our campus representatives and friends.

The CSU has a great story to tell. This year, we need your help more than ever to tell it. The story is about how the CSU is facing many challenges this year as a result of the state's budget situation. But it is also about how the CSU is more important to California than ever before.

We are indispensable to California. And I hope we can all share that message today.

CSU Budget

Let me start with a few words on the budget:

The CSU took some very painful cuts during this year. Altogether, our cuts and unfunded cost increases totaled $125.4 million. Those dollars are now gone.

For next year, the governor's budget proposal calls on the CSU to take even deeper cuts. We are facing a net $260.7 million reduction or a 10 percent cut in the CSU's $2.6 billion budget. That is going to hurt.

But here's the extra twist: While our budget is shrinking, our enrollment demand is growing. The CSU set an enrollment record of 407,000 students this year. We have been funded for a five percent enrollment growth for 2003/04. And we expect to serve an additional 110,000 students by 2012.

We call this combination of growing enrollments and shrinking budgets the "double whammy." What it means is that we have to find a way to do more with less.

That is not an easy thing to do. You can't just "do more with less" any more than you can do "something with nothing." You can't teach more students without more classrooms, faculty, services, and support. All of those things cost money. So there will be a limit to "doing more with less."

We believe that the only way we can manage the "double whammy" is if we receive the governor's proposed budget – at the very minimum.

That includes the new enrollment funding and revenue from fee increases.

We are going to have to work together to make sure that the CSU receives that funding.

But what if we don't receive that funding?

Some of you have heard me talking about the "risk" that the CSU has to take. We take a certain amount of risk every year because we have to admit students before we know what our final budget will be. That's how the timing of our admission cycle goes. Right now, the CSU is admitting students for this coming fall.

But this year, the stakes are higher. We think the budget looks difficult now, but it may turn out to be even worse. If we receive any less than what the governor has proposed, we will have enrolled students we cannot serve.

Some people may ask, "Why take that risk?"

My answer is this – and I know many of you would respond the same way: The work that the CSU does is essential to California. Our work is too important for us to shrink away from the budget challenge.

Young people are graduating from our high schools in increasing numbers and they need and deserve the opportunity to make their dreams come true through higher education. California's employers and communities rely on us to help educate this state's students and keep its economy moving.

We must continue to fulfill our mission as a university no matter what our budget looks like. That means we must move forward. And that's why we have to keep telling our story – here in Sacramento, and all the way across California, from Humboldt to San Diego.

CSU Story –Economic Development

The California State University's story is about meeting the economic and workforce needs of the state and improving the quality of life of its citizens and its communities.

Over the last few decades, California's economy has shifted to more technology-based industries that require highly skilled, college-educated workers. The CSU has stepped in to fill the need for those educated workers.

You heard some of those numbers from Louis Caldera, but it's worth saying again: The CSU educates more than half of all Californians who pursue a four-year degree. We surpass all other California universities in granting four-year degrees in health care, engineering, mathematics, teaching, and business.

The CSU story is also about how we are accessible to Californians.

  • We offer courses at campuses and centers around the state, and online.

  • We offer courses every month of the year, plus evenings and weekends.

  • We have a more diverse student body than just about any other university system in the country.

  • We have small classes and faculty members who focus on teaching.

  • We are more affordable than any other comparable university. Our fees and our financial aid programs are structured so that any student who wants to attend the CSU can find a way to afford it.

Then there's the work that we do that extends far beyond the classroom or the workplace.

Our students perform over 33.6 million hours of community service each year.

That represents a minimum wage value of $193.2 million.

At the CSU, community service is more than just good learning experience. It represents a critically needed service to the state.

When you pull all of these pieces together, it becomes clear that California cannot afford for the CSU to slow down right now. What we do is too important to this state. And what we do is too important to California's future economic recovery. That's why the CSU needs to continue to move forward.

In the months ahead, we are going to have to work together in Sacramento – cooperatively – to support the CSU and to make sure that our funding is preserved.

We have to show how the CSU fulfills California's Master Plan promise of an accessible, affordable, high-quality education. We have to help people understand how much we do for California every day. And we have to help them see that we do what no other university can do.

Legislators want to listen to what their constituents have to say. That's why you're helping us deliver a very important message: If the CSU does not receive the governor's proposed increases in enrollment funding and student fees, we will be unable to provide the classes or services that students need to complete their degrees.

Let's make sure that never happens to the CSU.

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to join us in Sacramento to deliver this message.

I wish you a very informative, productive, and enjoyable day with your colleagues and friends. Thank you very much.

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