As part of the 2024-25 budget plan, institutional support costs are anticipated to be $109 million. The CSU must amplify its accountability and compliance efforts and pay for certain required operating expenditures regardless of the level of funding allocated by the state, as they often increase despite the level of state support. If operating budget plans do not include these types of required operational cost increases, campuses must redirect resources from existing programs, services and priorities to meet those cost increases.
To strengthen our cultures of care and compliance, in 2022 and 2023 the CSU engaged Cozen O’Connor to conduct a systemwide assessment of the CSU’s implementation of its programs to prevent and address discrimination, harassment and retaliation (DHR) based on protected statuses, including sex and gender (under Title IX). The goal of the engagement was to strengthen the CSU’s institutional culture by assessing current practices and providing insights, recommendations and resources to advance the CSU’s Title IX and DHR training, awareness, prevention, intervention, compliance and support systems.
Cozen O’Connor’s assessment included interviews and campus visits, in addition to gathering feedback through surveys and email and concluded with thorough and detailed reports that were released in July 2023. The reports identify core observations and recommendations for improvements at both the system and university levels. While the CSU has taken several proactive steps, much more can and will be done to assist the 23 universities in meeting the needs of their students, staff and faculty.
In July 2023, the California State Auditor (CSA) also completed its review of CSU’s handling of sexual harassment complaints against employees at three campuses and the Chancellor’s Office. The CSA made recommendations at the systemwide level that are aligned with those of Cozen O’Connor. Implementing the Cozen recommendations and establishing systemwide and university Title IX and DHR programs at appropriate levels will require investing in significant additional personnel, shifting the current philosophy and manner of engagement, and developing sustainable tools and processes to support these efforts. Implementation teams have been formed at the Chancellor’s Office and at our 23 universities to develop comprehensive strategies to implement the recommendations. At this initial stage, we estimate the need for more than 100 new positions and significant other operating resources at the system and university levels. The 2024-25 operating budget plan requires $15.9 million for substantial new costs to implement the recommendations in the first of multi-year efforts to support this program. Additional investments will be necessary and have been preliminarily estimated at nearly $6 million. Further refinement of needs and estimated costs are expected during the coming year.
In June 2022, the state Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) announced a systemwide audit of the CSU’s legal compliance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA) and the California Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 2001 (CalNAGPRA). These laws were enacted to resolve and restore the rights of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian lineal descendants and tribes to the ancestral remains, associated burial objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony held in institutions like the CSU. All campuses were surveyed, and four campuses were selected for in-depth audits that included campus visits and reviews of past and current repatriation-related documentation and records. The audit findings and recommendations, published July 29, 2023, revealed that of 21 campuses with collections, more than half have not repatriated any ancestral remains or cultural items to the tribes. Further, more than half do not know the extent of the ancestral remains and cultural items in their collections.
At present, only five campuses have full-time repatriation coordinators. The audit report identified 15 campuses as needing these positions and, depending upon collection size, some campuses may require additional staffing resources. The lack of sufficient funding to cover the repatriation-related expenses was also reported. The audit report recommended the Chancellor’s Office establish a system infrastructure to oversee campus repatriation activities. The CSU plans $4.3 million for new costs to comply with NAGPRA.
The CSU is scheduled to open 532,130 square feet of new facilities in 2024-25. The cost to fund regular maintenance of these facilities is $23.79 per square foot, for a total of $12.5 million in 2024-25. Regular maintenance of new facilities includes the cost of utilities, building maintenance, custodial, landscape and administrative support.Additional Information – Campus Detail
The CSU plan includes $22.6 million, equivalent to a 21% increase, in costs related to property and liability coverage. The insurance markets for property and liability coverage emerged from a decade of low premiums. Insurance premiums continue to rise across the country and more so for California public entities. Many factors are causing this significant rise in premiums in California, including an overall rise in claims and inflated values of settlements and verdicts. California higher education and public entities writ large face some of the toughest challenges in the liability insurance market because of higher risks of physical abuse and molestation, law enforcement, and employment practice exposures. Additionally, sizable liability settlements continue at other higher education institutions, resonating throughout the insurance industry. Property losses, including those caused by wildfires and wind/water events (atmospheric rivers), are also a factor. The CSU has experienced multiple losses, and these contribute to property insurance premium increases.
Inflation impacts all areas of the university. Over the past decade, the CSU operating budget plan and the final state budget have not included funding explicitly dedicated to cost increases on a variety of expenses, such as technology, instructional equipment, library subscriptions, software subscriptions, contracts and other supplies. Utilizing the California Consumer Price Index of 3% for 2023-24, the CSU plans $28.5 million for expenditure increases due to inflation.
To effectively educate all students, it is necessary to invest regularly in critical infrastructure while also refurbishing existing and building new academic facilities to best serve students. The CSU proposes using $25 million to finance needed facility and infrastructure projects. These projects will address critical infrastructure needs, renovate existing buildings and expand capacity for targeted growth in new student enrollment. Many of these projects would support students seeking careers in engineering, health care and the sciences. For every $25 million in ongoing funding, the CSU could finance approximately $300 million of new academic and infrastructure facilities.
The CSU five-year capital plan identifies the priority needs of each of the 23 campuses and is based on the categories and criteria approved by the Board of Trustees. The plan has identified–in 2024-25 alone–more than $4.0 billion in systemwide academic infrastructure and facility needs. The priorities are consistent with the state’s priorities of critical infrastructure, energy efficiency and life safety projects. The following table summarizes some of the CSU’s highest priority projects that could be funded with this additional support.
For more information on specific projects and priorities, please reference the CSU five-year capital plan (calstate.edu/major-capital-outlay).