California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Dear Colleagues and Students

Photo by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer

Photo by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer

Dr. Nicholas L. Baham III,
Professor of Ethnic Studies and CSUEB CFA Chapter President

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On behalf of your CSU East Bay chapter of the California Faculty Association (CFA) and Students for Quality Education (SQE), I want to thank you for your support and love in the recent Faculty Fight for Five!

As many of you now know, we were able to avert a strike after a last minute agreement with Chancellor White and the CSU that will guarantee CSU faculty including coaches, counselors, and librarians a 7% salary increase for the 2016-17 academic year as well as an additional 3.5% increase for 2017-18. Faculty will vote to ratify this tentative agreement online April 22-29. The CSU Board of Trustees will vote to ratify the agreement at the end of May.

None of this would have been possible without the combined efforts of faculty and students engaged in the fight for a quality education. Our actions were an act of love for our profession, our students, and our university. Together We Are Strong!

During our Fight for Five, students and faculty worked in solidarity with resolve and a willingness to speak truth to power. Students demanded fair treatment for their professors and fought for a quality education. Faculty fought for respect and sought to retain a middle class living in the Bay Area.

This is not only a significant victory for each of us individually and for all of us in the CSU system –The People’s University- collectively, but it is also a significant victory for public higher education, the teaching profession, and even for the union movement generally speaking. At the end of the day, faculty and students alike, we are working people. As faculty we may be highly trained and specialized working people, and as students you are certainly aspiring to acquire specialized training and professional certification. But we are all working people nonetheless who are trying to maintain a hold on the middle class.

Our struggle is certainly not over, but we have earned a significant victory for the moment. Our movement is spreading across the country. The State University of New York (SUNY), City University of New York (CUNY), Chicago State University (CSU), as well as the City College of San Francisco (CCSF), are all engaged in similar struggles. There is a profound relationship between the exploitation of both faculty and students as our society continues to disinvest in public higher education. If public support for Sen. Bernie Sanders platform of free public higher education is any indication, we are all fighting back, and we will prevail!

Accordingly, your CSUEB CFA chapter and SQE will be devoting its energy to the struggles of other working people, including the struggle of California students to reduce state university fees and tuition. I can guarantee you that CFA and the faculty of California State University East Bay will be on the front lines fighting against increases in student fees in the CSU system. We all believe that our students are precious and that they deserve not only the highest quality education but also an educational experience that will not leave them with tens of thousands of dollars of debt when they graduate.

I want to specifically thank our SQE activists, Emma Burke, Ryan Tayahua, and Erika Jimenez and all of the members of their organization including their fearless leader, Rose Mendelsohn. I also want to give a shout out to the Diversity Center and its amazing group of students, some of whom are now organizing to provide a food program on this campus for our students.

I want to thank the Feminist Faculty Union and the labor unions on this campus including CSUEU and APC for their support, as well as the Central Labor Council and CTA. CTA activists were there with us all the way, hall walking and attending our meetings and signing up faculty for strike shifts, and were set to be there with us on the picket lines.

I want to express a special thanks for the support of this Faculty Academic Senate, and Senate Chair Dr. Michael Hedrick and Vice-Chair Dr. Linda Ivey for their steady leadership. This Senate has taken an important social justice position with respect to the strike and student fees, recognizing that these are unprecedented times.

I want to thank all the members of my CFA eBoard and our CSUEB CFA Strike Team, without whom none of our organizing would have been possible, including Mark Karplus (Logistics), Dr. Rachael Stryker (Programming), Dr. James Mitchell (Communications), Dr. Kim Geron (Community and Political Outreach), Dr. Meiling Wu (Chinese Language Media Rep.), Dr. Jesus Diaz-Caballero (Spanish language Media Rep.), Dr. Susan Gubernat (my spiritual advisor!), our CFA organizer Anne Janks, and of course our incredible CFA administrative assistant Mona Dongray without whom absolutely nothing we do would be possible.

Most importantly, I want to thank you, the students of CSUEB for supporting us and for understanding that faculty working conditions are related to student learning conditions. They tried to separate us and divide and conquer, but you were not fooled.

Finally I would like to thank Pres. Morishita as well as campus police chief Boykins for engaging in open dialogue in the spirit of collegiality with myself and statewide CFA President Jen Eagan.

Thank all of you! CSU East Bay is a remarkable learning community. Together we are producing amazing scholarship and providing students with a quality education, the kind of education that empowers and emboldens our students, the kind of education that makes California a better place.  We must all remember that this is the People’s University and that education is a right, not a privilege.

With Love and Gratitude,

Dr. Nicholas L. Baham III

Professor of Ethnic Studies and

CSUEB CFA Chapter President

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Dear Colleagues and Students