We can all benefit if we support the Fight For Five

by Hannah Willis, Staff Columnist

Starting on Wednesday, April 13, the faculty members of the 23 California State University campuses will hold their first system-wide strike.

The faculty association, which represents about 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches are fighting for a five percent raise for the current school year, as well as a 2.65 percent Service Salary Increase (SSI) for all eligible faculty.

The California Faculty Association (CFA) believe the reasons behind the strike are reasonable and fair. On March 28, an independent fact-finder reviewed both sides and concluded that the CSU system should give its faculty a raise.

This is because faculty members’ salaries are failing to keep up with inflation. Faculty went five years without a raise from 2008-2013. From 2013-2014 instructors received a general increase of 1.3 percent.

The faculty members have been victims to stagnant salaries and have lost over $7,000 in purchasing power since 2004, according to the CFA on the San Diego State website. Additionally, the salaries of faculty members at University of California (UC) campuses and community colleges have increased, while the CSU’s have declined. This pay discrepancy makes it difficult to afford the expenses of everyday life and also has the ability to affect a person’s quality of life.

The CFA argue that “faculty working conditions are student learning conditions”. By being able to support themselves and their families better financially, they will be more capable to give students more attention and a better quality education.

According to the CFA, “many professors have been forced to leave the CSU altogether because of low pay, which can impact the classes offered to students.”

“CSU has shifted money away from its core educational mission to other priorities,” Alexei Koseff said in an article. “Hiring more administrators and turning to cheaper part-time lecturers rather than tenure-track professors.”

Rather than trying to save money or cut-corners, the CSU administrators should favor the professors with more experience and should show appreciation for their dedication to the student body.

Opponents of the salary increase argue that a 5 percent pay hike, as well as the 2.65 percent SSI, “would cost the system as much as $108 million and would mean shortchanging other priorities such as enrollment, student services, technology and building upgrades,” said CSU spokeswoman Toni Molle.

The CSU has countered by offering a 2 percent raise. However, union members believe 2 percent to be an unjust offer and claim their 5 percent pay hike is well deserved, after going years with little or no raises.

One of the biggest concerns for students regarding this “fight for five” is whether or not their tuition fees will be affected by increasing faculty wages. The short answer is no.

According to the student FAQs on the CFA website, “the CSU has enough money to pay faculty a 5% raise without increasing student fees; it is a matter of priorities”. It also notes that over the past 10 years student fees have gone up drastically and faculty pay has stayed flat, emphasizing the disconnect between tuition costs and faculty salaries.

As a CSU student, I hope the CSU administration and board realize the actual worth of their faculty. Without our mentors, students wouldn’t be able to flourish and get the education they deserve. I support the faculty’s fight for five and I encourage my fellow SDSU students to stand behind their educators as well. Together, we can make a difference.