May 18, 2011
As we close the academic year and put the finishing touches on the preparations for our commencement activities, I want to again thank you for the extraordinary work you have done this year to serve our students and to keep this university on an impressive trajectory despite facing economic uncertainty. The accomplishments I mentioned in my April 11 Spring Update are just a few of the many from this past year. Our students have excelled and even outperformed the competition in academic achievement, student research, community service and athletics, all of which are wonderful reminders of our mission and our transformative impact on this region.
The Governor released his May Revise on Monday. The revised budget did not contain any new developments that have changed our planning assumptions. The legislature had earlier approved the $12 billion budget reductions of the Governor's proposal, which included the $500 million reduction to the CSU. The Governor's May Revise does threaten an "all cuts" budget if his proposals for certain tax extensions are not approved, which would include an additional reduction of $500 million in state funding support for the California State University, bringing the total reduction to $1 billion.
At their meeting last week, the CSU Board of Trustees outlined a contingency plan that would include an additional tuition fee increase up to 32 percent and "wait listing" applicants for the spring 2012 semester. The Trustees will likely take action at their July board meeting if there are no assurances about the final budget or the Governor's revenue proposals.
The reductions we've already experienced significantly impact our ability to grow and to serve our region. We have and will continue to respond to these challenges with prudent planning, innovative and entrepreneurial approaches, and expanded partnerships to provide educational opportunity for this region and service to our students. However, the threat of such a massive reduction in public higher education is the worst possible decision the legislature can make. It threatens California's economic recovery, increases costs for students and their families to obtain a quality college education, and has the potential to deny access to thousands of qualified applicants. Throughout the summer, we all must continue to advocate for the CSU and for CSUSM by delivering a strong message to our legislators - without an educated workforce, California's future is grim.
I will continue to provide updates through the summer as we receive new information. I look forward to seeing you at Commencement on campus this Friday and Saturday, and I wish you all a productive and restful summer.