Response to the California Performance Review's Proposed
Mandatory Community Service Graduation Requirement
AS-2677-04/AA - November 11-12, 2004
ATTACHMENT 1 TO AS-2677-04/AA
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State
University (CSU) reaffirm its support for voluntary, not mandatory, community
service and service learning programs as stated in Senate resolution AS-2488-00.
RATIONALE: The recently issued California Performance
Review (CPR) states that "students attending the state's public colleges and
universities should be required to perform a minimum amount of community service"
in return for "the significant investment of taxpayer funds in their education
and their future…." - notwithstanding the need for and the benefits of an
The Academic Senate CSU recognizes that student participation in community
service and service learning can enhance student academic learning, provide a
context for theory through practical application in the community, foster civic
engagement and career exploration, and at the same time meet the needs of
Furthermore, the Academic Senate CSU recognizes that each CSU campus provides
opportunities for students to participate in community service and service
learning. As a result, over 185,000 CSU students provide millions of hours of
service to California communities each year. During the 2003-2004 academic year,
over 1,700 courses with service-learning components were offered, providing more
than 60,000 students with opportunities to participate in service learning. In
California, an average of 27%, more than $5.2 million, of federal work-study
funding is devoted to community service placements, well above the national
average of 14%.
CSU campuses have already developed opportunities and incentives to involve
students in community service through the establishment of student-run community
service programs and student service recognition awards, the development or
coordination of service learning courses; and the creation of special programs
such as America Reads, America Counts, Pre-Collegiate Academic Development,
Human Corps, EPIC, Upward Bound, VISTA and Americorps programs, and university-wide
days of service. Some CSU students receive stipends or work-study funds for their
service work to support their educational endeavors.
The Academic Senate CSU acknowledges that service, and the learning that is
associated with service, are valuable aspects of a higher education, yet research
demonstrates that mandatory service requirements on college students undermine
the future intention to volunteer for those students who do not currently feel
free to volunteer. Fostering an ethic of service is more appropriately met with
incentives and opportunities. Mandated community service for all CSU students
would require commitment of substantial additional resources in order to implement.
In addition, not all students are suited to participate in community service and
may create both liability and public relations issues for the CSU. Mandatory
community service may result in delaying the time to graduation and require
additional advising resources. The quality of the opportunities offered may be
diminished with a substantial increase in students required to take them. The
capacity of smaller communities to absorb students in worthwhile learning
activities is also questionable.
APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY - January 20-21, 2005