Senator Schutte’s note on ASCSU EO1100 resolution

[The following is some background Senator Schutte promised to send to the Senate after last Thursday’s meeting. He’s given me his permission to share it here]

The Back Story on the ASCSU Resolution Regarding EO 1100 and EO 1110 and its Ramification for the CSUN Review of its Resolution.

In our last Senate meeting, the “question was called” to vote on the then current motion to disregard implementation of EO 1100 and EO1110 (herein known as the “Orders”). This occurred before I had the opportunity to provide information on how the Statewide Resolution concerning these Orders was negotiated and passed. In light of that missed opportunity, I suggested I would distribute a written statement as to why the Statewide Senate did not pass the resolution for rescission and instead opted to pass a resolution to delay and analyze. The result can be gleaned from reading the Statewide Resolution (see statewide minutes, Adam’s Presidents blog or this URL). However, as your statewide senate representative, from whose committee (Fiscal and Governmental Affairs) the resolution was initiated and for which, as a member, I provided the outline for same, I would like to give you the rationale for why this resolution prevailed and the motion, similar to our CSUN senate’s motion to ignore, did not.

The premise on which FGA did not support the rescission resolution was two-fold. First, we felt that faculty needed a seat at the table in dialoguing about the Orders. Simply asking for a rescission and the resulting non-compliance, would have precluded that input. Second we, at FGA, who are charged with following communications between the CSU and Sacramento, understand that the CSU in general and the local campuses, in particular, are often looked at as obstreperous, causing (in particular) the Department of Finance to “tune out” when legitimate requests are forwarded (that is an actual quote from the higher education group at the DOF). Simply ignoring these Orders would have only provided further support for their position. That said, FGA did take exception with many issues presented in the Orders and debated them for several hours. Let me articulate why, as a result, I suggested my reactions to them be incorporated and how that translated into the resolves contained in our resolution.

First, we universally took issue with the timing and lack of consultation for these Orders. The stated rationale was 1) the Chancellor’s Office perception that there was a time constraint issued by the Legislature, and 2) as a result, it required the distribution of these Orders during the summer when faculty were gone. The former was rationalized by the CO in quoting the 2017 Budget Act (AB 97, section 6610.001, 1.4), passed by the Legislature and articulating the need for policy changes by May 2018. The latter was rationalized by the CO’s premise that HEERA (Higher Education Employee-Employer Relations Act) obviates the requirement to consult with faculty on curriculum issues, although they may still voluntarily consult.

Ignoring these two issues by simply saying “no” to their Order’s implementation would prevent us from taking a stand on the underlying CO perceptions. For example, while AB97 does ask for “changes in policy” by May 2018, it does not ask for curriculum changes to be in place by the next academic year. Therefore, it is perfectly logical and reasonable to spend the next year formulating the policy between faculty and the CO, in time to meet the demands of AB97, while not implementing those agreed upon changes until the fall, 2019, which would then give departments time to process any agreed-upon changes. Moreover, while it is the case that the “scope of representation” found in HEERA, section 3562 (2.r.1.C) excludes a meet and confer obligation if the content involves “…the conduct of courses, curricula, and research programs”, it is also true that the Government Code Title I Division 4, Chapter 10, Myers-Milias-Brown Act, Section 3504 (governing public employees) defines the scope of representation to include “…all matters relating to employment conditions and employer-employee relations”. Moreover, the Constitution of the Academic Senate of the CSU (ratified by the Chancellor) calls for the Academic Senate “…..to be the formal policy-recommending body on systemwide academic…..matters”. Clearly, the debate on this issue needs to be vetted. These Orders are the time and venue in which to do so. Simply dismissing them out of hand precludes this opportunity.

Second, is the issue of costs and resource allocation. While the CO advocates the necessary to “standardize” G.E. requirements, units, coded categories, and pre-requisites, so that seamless transfers between campuses may occur, it is nevertheless the case that each campus has different necessities and requirements. Moreover, far less than 1% of students actually transfer once admitted. That said, and truth be known, it was the Legislative Analyst’s Office when testifying at the Senate and Assembly Higher Education Committee hearings in April, who told them (I am paraphrasing here) “The CSU does not need $75 million for G.I. 2025. Their greatest impediment to increasing graduating rates is their emphasis on remediation courses and the number of freshmen that are being placed in them. The ELM and EPT do not predict academic success in subsequent coursework and using them to place students is suppressing graduation rates. Therefore, we recommend the CSU abandon them, substituting multiple measures as predictors and place students directly into credit enabling courses”. Given that resounding vote of no confidence for GI 2025, by the LAO, it is nothing short of a miracle that the Legislature increased Gov. Browns allocation to the CSU by some $37 million. You may see the exact language the LAO used by simply reading the text in AB97, Section 6610.001 1.4. It was taken almost verbatim from the hearings. That said, to defend against being railroaded, this is the time and these are the Orders that deserve data-driven evaluation, not executive proclamation. I suggest that in exchange for critical dialogue about us supporting their implementation, we can effect their support for an evaluation of these Orders, such that it will not only serve us in vetting this implementation but set the rules for doing so whenever future EO’s are forwarded.

Third, and related to any evaluation is the issue of “unintended consequences”. So often public policy is passed with the best of intentions but with no understanding of the latent dysfunctions or consequences. For example, Proposition 47, in releasing non-violent prisoners in California, intended to reduce the prison population and increase the participation in drug rehabilitation, yet in the two years since its implementation, it has achieved the opposite. It turns out,releasing drug-related convicts does not ensure they will participate in “voluntary” drug rehabilitation.

A similar fallacy is true in these Orders. Causing a student to “bypass” a remediation course does not, despite added funds for tutoring, mean the grad rates will rise. Quite the contrary, it may be the case that DFUs will increase dramatically, causing more repeated classes or dropouts and thereby decrease grad rates. Moreover, to the extent Cultural Studies coursework is systematically uncoupled (from section F) and scattered throughout the G.E. categories, while potentially increasing FTES for these courses, may have the unintended consequence of dismantling the identify fostered through the Cultural Studies Departments who evolved these courses. It is not the FTES or unit completion that matters but the identity of clustering those units that is the issue. We are trying to foster grad rates. One of the biggest correlates of student success in graduating is the sense of community and identification with the campus. Having run the campus climate survey for the past three years, it is evident that underrepresented minorities feel less connected to campus. Therefore, is it any wonder they have lower overall graduation rates? How is the declustering of courses that represent a student’s identity going to function to promote a sense of community and, therefore, increase grad rates? That said, by having a voice at the table, examining resources and costs, while collecting data, and reminding them of the history of our section F, we will have the opportunity to demonstrate the insanity of dismantling student identity with Cultural Studies defined courses.

These are among the reasons Academic Affairs, the committee that had penned the Resolution calling for rescission, deferred to FGA and supported our resolution which was ultimately passed unanimously, but for one abstention. I think we would do well (to use a legal metaphor) to consider the merits of arguing our case rather than to not show up for the hearing. I have had some degree of success in swaying AVCs Blanchard and CFO Relyea on other issues and believe much progress on all manner of generic fronts could be made in negotiating with them, using these Orders as the stimulus context. I hope you agree and modify your vote at the next Senate hearing.

Respectfully,
Jerry Schutte, Professor
CSUN Statewide Academic Senator