You no doubt have heard that California, like many other states, is facing a serious financial crisis, and that all state agencies, including the California State University (CSU), have been targeted for deep cuts when the state budget is set for 2008-09. That means that Cal State Long Beach, too, will be seriously impacted.
This is not just an issue that will impact our students, or our alumni, or our campus. This is an important time to ask our legislators to raise the important social questions and make the best social choices. As Californians, should we choose to incarcerate one more prisoner when we could send six talented students to Cal State Long Beach for the same price? Should we continue to pour vast amounts of public revenues into an out of control health care system at the expense of school children, our students or California’s education system?
As our legislators consider a 10 percent funding cut to the CSU system, which would translate to about $16 million on our own campus, I would advise that they consider an important fact: we are not a state expenditure, we are the best investment that could be made toward the future of California. Last year the CSU awarded degrees to 90,000 graduates, moving them into the state’s economy. Our university alone graduated almost 8,200 including 500 engineers, 300 nurses, 1,000 elementary and secondary school teachers and 250 accountants and MBAs. If the state truly considers education a priority, as rhetoric would suggest, then why are we seeing such serious financial reductions coming to schools, community colleges and universities?
If California wants more engineers, more school teachers, more nurses, more accountants, more MBAs, one of the last things that should occur is a reduction in funding to its schools, colleges and universities. The outcome will be immediate - 10 percent fewer college graduates in California’s economy. This comes just as the California Business Roundtable has pointed to the need for 1.3 million additional B.A. degrees in the state economy, as well as 250,000 master’s degrees and 50,000 doctorates by 2020. This is not a university issue alone, it is a California issue.
If you are a resident of this state, I urge you to contact your local representatives and tell them that California needs to stand firm on its investment in education. We are a great public university, among the best in the nation at building the foundation for the future of California. We remain committed to this task and challenge other universities nationwide to advance a similar agenda for the common welfare of all.
F. King Alexander