Opposition to AB 126 (Runner, Ducheny, and Lempert)
Public Postsecondary Education: University of California: California State University: year-round program, in its current form;
Need for Additional Study before Requiring Implementation of Year-round Operation
AS-2452-99/AA/FGA - May 6-7, 1999
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University recognize that year-round operation (YRO) has potential for improving future student access, and that such a massive undertaking requires a thorough and careful planning process, but that the Academic Senate CSU oppose the passage of AB 126 (Runner, Ducheny, and Lempert), Public postsecondary education: University of California: California State University: year-round program, in its present form (as amended March 23, 1999); and be it further
RESOLVED: By the Academic Senate CSU that a more thorough planning process should include polls of students to project how many can and would attend summer sessions; studies to project the need for additional tenured and tenure-track faculty to staff the YRO programs; determination of the need for construction of additional faculty offices, laboratories, and studios to house those new faculty members; the need to increase clerical and technical staff and especially the need for substitutes for clerical and technical staff during their vacations; the impact on internal governance structures and processes; and the need to increase funding for operating expenses to compensate departments for the loss of extended learning revenues that, in some cases, nearly equal the departments general fund operating expense moneys; and be it further
RESOLVED: By the Academic Senate CSU that funding YRO be fully funded on the same basis as academic-year funding; and be it further
RESOLVED: By the Academic Senate CSU that Section 66057.5(a) of AB 126 ["That construction of new instructional space on campuses in a segment of higher education be funded only when that segment has approved and implemented year-round operation and has achieved the segment-wide enrollment levels set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 66057.3"] is not wise policy, in that some facilities on higher education campuses need to be replaced for reasons wholly separate from increased enrollment, e.g., some campuses have currently outgrown their libraries, some current campus buildings do not meet current requirements (e.g., for safety, for compliance with such federal or state programs as those dealing with access for people with disabilities, air quality, or occupational safety and health), some current campus buildings pose significant seismic dangers, and some campus facilities are technologically obsolete; and to hold all construction in an entire segment hostage to the implementation of arbitrarily determined enrollment levels ignores the realities of campus construction needs; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU urge the Chancellor, Board of Trustees, the California State Student Association, and CSU alumni/ae to join in recommending that YRO not be implemented without thorough and careful planning to the end that the quality of education in the CSU not be further eroded.
RATIONALE: AB 126 (Runner, Ducheny, and Lempert), Public postsecondary education: University of California: California State University: year-round program, provides for the implementation of year-round operation (YRO) in the CSU over the coming decade. The bill takes note that implementation of YRO "would not mean that university faculty would be required to teach year round."
After its March 1999 meeting, the Academic Senate CSU, through its chair, wrote to the legislature to frame its concerns on YRO and indicate those items that would be necessary to maintain quality education and research in the CSU in a YRO environment (AS-2444-99/FGA and Gene L. Dinielli to Honorable George Runner, March 17, 1999). As of the most recent changes in AB 126 (up to and including those of March 23, 1999), that bill does not address our recommendations. It is not true, as has been asserted in the public press, that CSU campuses sit empty all summer long. CSU campuses that are not currently on YRO, instead, include a variety of summer programs, most offered on a self-supporting basis through Colleges of Extended Learning. There is a wide range of activities associated with full YRO that will require the presence of the usual complement of permanent faculty. Even to maintain the current unsatisfactory ratio of tenured and tenure-track (permanent) faculty to students, it will be necessary to hire up to a third more permanent faculty.
Most faculty members in the CSU, in fact, use part or all of their summers to pursue research, scholarly, and creative activities for which there is not adequate time during the academic year. Permanent faculty members currently use their campus offices, laboratories, and studios to pursue research, scholarship, and creative activities during the summer when they are not teaching. It would be counterproductive to require faculty members to vacate their offices, laboratories, and studios during the summer months. Any expansion of the permanent faculty, therefore, must include provision for the construction of additional office, laboratory, and studio space. With academic-year operation, many administrative, clerical, and technical staff members schedule their vacations during the summer. With the transition to YRO, it will become necessary to have full clerical and technical staffing all year round; hence there will be a need for additional clerical and technical staff as well as a need for funds for replacements during vacations.
At the current time, many departments use summer sessions to generate operating fundsfunds that, in some cases, are greater than the operating funds provided from the general fund. Some departments would be hard pressed to acquire adequate supplies and services without the additional income they generate through summer sessions. The general fund support for operating expensessupplies and servicesmust be expanded commensurate with the expansion of enrollment. YRO is an experiment for many campuses without any experience in summer course offerings paid through the general fund. If this experiment is to be successful, it must be funded at a higher level or entered into very cautiously.
Marginal cost funding of student expansion has the inevitable effect of driving ever downward the amount of money available to a campus on a per student basis. Expansion based on marginal cost rather than full cost will discourage campuses from expanding.
Section 66057.5(a) of AB 126 is especially unwise as state policy. It specifies:
"That construction of new instructional space on campuses in a segment of higher education be funded only when that segment has approved and implemented year-round operation and has achieved the segment-wide enrollment levels set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 66057.3."
Some facilities on higher education campuses need to be replaced for reasons wholly separate from increased enrollment, e.g., some campuses have currently outgrown their libraries, some current campus buildings pose significant seismic dangers, and some campus facilities are technologically obsolete. Furthermore, to hold hostage the construction of new instructional space in, e.g., Chico because a campus in San Diego has failed to achieve a specified enrollment level assumes a portability of student demand that has never been proven in the real world.
There has been no clear demonstration, based on polling of current CSU students, that a significant proportion of CSU students would take courses in the summer. Indeed, widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that manyeven mostCSU students use their summers to earn the funds they need to attend the following academic year. If that were to prove to be the case, implementation of the enrollment targets in AB 126 would be impossible. It is important to know if students would attend full YRO in sufficient numbers to make the implementation targets reasonable.
Finally, AB 126 is based on assumptions about future enrollment patterns that have not been proven and that may, in the end, prove to be untenable.
APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY May 6-7, 1999