College Chairs Council speaks out on SF State funding cuts

April 29th, 2016

TO: Governor Brown, Lt. Governor Newsom, State Attorney General Kamala Harris, Chancellor Timothy White, Lou Monville, Chair CSU Board of Trustees, SFSU President Wong, Provost Rosser, Dean Monteiro, Members of the Black, Latino, and API Legislative Caucus of California, SFSU Academic Senate President Carleton, and CFA Chapter President Sheila Tully

FROM: The Chairs Council of the College of Ethnic Studies, SFSU Campus

RE: Violation of CSU Moratorium on Ethnic Studies, CBA, and Illegal Revocation of Two Replacement Hires for the Department of Africana Studies in the College of Ethnic Studies, Civil Rights Violations
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
We write today as the collective voice of the faculty of the College of Ethnic Studies with grave concerns about racial bias and discrimination in hiring at San Francisco State University against the Department of Africana Studies. In the fall of 2015, the department of Africana Studies presented two requests for replacement hires in the disciplinary areas of Psychology and Literature. These positions were presented by the department and by the dean of the college as replacement hires for one faculty member who passed away and another faculty member that took a position at another university.
 
This request was subsequently presented to Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Sue Rosser who signed onto the request so that the search process could begin. While we understand that any position is subject to university funding, we also understand that replacement positions are already part of the permanent budget of the College of Ethnic Studies. During the spring semester Africana Studies successfully conducted both searches and recommended two candidates to the Dean of our College.
 
The department was just informed this Monday that there is “NO funding” for these two positions. If this is true we want to know why these requests were signed off on by the Provost? We believe that this recent decision is an act of retaliation against the College and the Department and against Black students, as well as a violation of the rights of the candidates who were recommended to be hired for these previously approved positions. We assert that this action by the Provost is not only grievable, but this is also a violation of the faculty contract. We also understand that our college is the ONLY college on campus at SFSU without a faculty travel budget, another direct violation of our rights and an example of racial discrimination that must be investigated by state leaders to avoid a possible class-action lawsuit. Since February of this year the College has been under attack by central administration. These attacks have been characterized in the media as overspending by our college, when the reality of the situation is that we have not been given an adequate budget for more than a decade and we have also experienced disproportionate cuts over the past decade that amount to a 40% reduction in our overall operations. No other college comprised of people of color have experienced similar cuts leading us to believe that employment, civil rights, and labor violations are taking place at SFSU. We have argued that previously proposed budget reductions by the university constitute a violation of the CSU Moratorium on Ethnic Studies.
 
We contend that we have been denied an adequate budget under the current Provost over the course of her tenure at the university. Our annual allocation does not even meet the state mandated requirement to cover tenure and tenure track faculty salaries. Now we are only being told after our protests against these budget reductions that these two positions “cannot be funded”. We request your immediate assistance in understanding whether or not the refusal to adequately fund the College of Ethnic Studies (on a permanent basis) and these two replacement hires (already included in our budget) is indeed a violation of the CSU moratorium on Ethnic Studies, and a Civil Rights violation as a result of inequitable funding and discrimination in hiring based on race and ethnicity at San Francisco State University. We call on SFSU, CSU, and State leaders to conduct an investigation into SFSU’s hiring and budgeting process to determine whether Civil Rights violations have occurred over the past decade in the recruitment, retention, and hiring of people of color and specially within the College of Ethnic Studies.  We thank you for your time and support of the nation’s only College of Ethnic Studies and the communities of color that we serve. Until the issues in the college are resolved and an investigation is conducted we will be standing in solidarity on May 2nd (indefinitely) with SFSU student hunger strikers as they demand justice for people of color at SFSU and an equitable budget for students, faculty, and staff in the College.
 
Sincerely,
 
The Chairs Council of the College of Ethnic Studies​