Page 124 - American_Higher_Education_V4

Basic HTML Version

124
animal analogy to describe
Reed. “He’s something of
a bull in a china closet,”
Zingg said. “But I mean that
positively. You know he’s in
the room. And that’s good:
to have folks be aware when
Cal State is in the room.
Charlie’s been very effective
in announcing our presence
and tying our presence to
the agenda for the state of
California.”
Reed does not receive
such high marks from some
Cal State faculty and the Cal
State unions. But the days of
faculty picketers and votes
of no confidence—in Reed’s
first year on the job, they
were passed by more than
a dozen campus faculties,
incensed over what they
perceived as his disrespect for them—are long gone.
Still, there’s no love lost between the Cal State
administration and the faculty, who feel they are overworked
and underpaid. “Certainly there’s a lot of faculty anger over
the salary and workload situation,” said Ted Anagnoson,
immediate past vice chair of the statewide Academic Senate
and a professor of political science at Cal State Los Angeles.
“Probably too much of it is directed at the board of trustees
and Charlie. Probably it ought to be directed more at the
state.”
In the coming academic year, Cal State officials say, average
faculty salaries are projected to lag 18 percent behind those
at comparable institutions, more than 26 percent for full
professors. That is in large part due to the
hit Cal State took during California’s budget
crisis: Between 2002 and 2005, the Cal State
budget was slashed by $522 million, about 12.5
percent of its current $4 billion budget.
At the behest of California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reed and UC
President Dynes negotiated a six-year
higher education compact that provided an
additional $218 million to Cal State this year,
but that only covered a 2.5 percent increase
in enrollment and a 3.5 percent increase in
salaries, the first in three years. The compact
also provides for continued funding for the
projected 2.5 percent annual enrollment
growth, as well as steady increases in base
funding of three percent next year, four percent the following
year and five percent during the last three years of the
agreement.
Some legislators were miffed that they weren’t included
in the compact negotiations, and thought Reed and Dynes
might have done better. But Reed defended the compact as
fair. And California Secretary of Education Bersin praised it as
politically pragmatic, given the state’s dire fiscal situation at the
time. “Charlie’s been around the block enough to know that
pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered,” Bersin said. Translation:
You won’t survive long if you try to grab more than your share.
But now that the state’s economy is improving, union
leadership has been critical of Reed for failing to advocate for
additional funding. “Initially they said it would just be a floor,”
said John Travis, professor of government at Humboldt State
University and Cal State Faculty Association president. “They
have treated it as a ceiling. They do not ask for anything more
than the compact, and we believe that is just not enough.”
Travis doesn’t have many kind words to say about Reed,
whom he criticized for not listening to the faculty, and for
raising annual tuition and fees. “It’s always been kind of
surprising to us that he distrusts the advice that comes from
the people who are doing the business of the university,” he
said.
But even Travis acknowledged that Reed isn’t completely to
blame for what he characterized as the union’s “dysfunctional
relationship” with the administration. “This predates
Charlie. It’s always been very difficult to bargain with the
administration.” And he said he was pleased that Reed recently
hired a consultant to help improve his relationships with Cal
State employee unions. “I think all of the labor unions see this
as a positive development. It’s a recognition of a problem,” said
Travis.
Reed, for his part, said he thinks the relationship
has already improved somewhat; he also has said that
he recognizes the need to close the salary gaps lest they
jeopardize the future quality of Cal State. And in fact, the Cal
State Board of Trustees has approved a five-year plan that
begins to address the issue.
But Reed said that the union leadership is not grounded
in fiscal reality. “They think there’s some money machine
somewhere,” he said, with exasperation.
Reed doesn’t have a money machine, but he has told
his presidents they must raise more funds from the private
sector, which he says has been largely untapped by Cal State.
“California has so much wealth compared to most other
states,” said Reed. “And we have to figure out how to access
that wealth.”
Meanwhile, he believes student tuition and fees should
continue to increase ten percent a year until students are
picking up 25 percent of the total cost of their education.
Currently, he said, tuition accounts for about 23 percent. Even
with substantial tuition hikes over the past few years, the
$3,164 average annual cost of attending Cal State remains far
below the national average cost of attending a public four-year
institution, which this year was $5,491.
Reed could not say howmuch longer he would remain
at the helm of Cal State. But he clearly is in no hurry to step
down. Because California is ten to 15 years ahead of the rest of
the country in terms of population trends, he believes that Cal
State can serve as a national model. And he wants to make it a
good one.
Besides, said Reed, “I think I would die if I didn’t go to
work.”
u
Freelance writer KathyWitkowsky lives inMissoula, Montana.
John Travis, president of the Cal State Faculty
Association, says Chancellor Reed largely ignores
advice from faculty members.
Kellie Jo Brown for CrossTalk
The Cal State
system still has
not recovered from
more than $500
million in cuts it
suffered during
California’s recent
budget crisis.