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Monday, January 30, 2023

In the State of the University address, Cal State is completely different from 18 months ago

Author: Ashley A. Smith, EdSource

The president of California State University, Joseph Castro, painted a picture of a dramatic change from the system that existed 18 months ago in his first university state speech on Tuesday.

“This public health crisis has disrupted our lives in previously unimaginable ways, brought huge economic uncertainty, and, like many difficulties, has had a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable among us,” he said. Speaking of the coronavirus pandemic. “In the past year and a half, terrible acts of injustice, violence and hatred have exacerbated this tragedy. Deep and painful divisions continue to exist in our country.”

However, despite the pandemic and racist attacks against black and Asian Americans in the past year, Castro said the 23-campus community has shown extraordinary courage and resilience.

He said: “We have been and will continue to return to a relatively normal state intermittently, but this return is inevitable.” “This is undoubtedly one of the most challenging periods in the history of Colorado State University, despite the pandemic. It may not be over yet, but we cannot relax our vigilance.”

Castro said that despite these problems, early data shows that in the 2020-21 school year, nearly 133,000 students have received a degree, which will be a “highest in history,” he said.

He also praised the major changes in the entire system, such as Humboldt State University’s transition to CSU’s third polytechnic university; CSUCCESS, an initiative that aims to bridge the digital divide by providing Apple products to more than 35,000 freshmen and transfer students Initiatives; and a new center for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at CSU Northridge to close the opportunity gap, especially for Latino students.

Humboldt State University plans to provide as many as 4,319 student dormitory beds by 2028 as part of its polytechnic expansion. (Time standard document)

But Castro, who took over as the principal of the system in January, said the system can and should do more for students, faculty and staff.

He said: “The voice of the pandemic requires us to be more inclusive and fair,” he added. As a principal, one of his highest priorities includes ensuring that “our diverse students are reflected and interacted with by faculty and staff who truly understand them. Make connections. Life experience.”

Today, 45% of CSU employees consider themselves to be people of color. About a decade ago, this ratio was about one-third. Castro said he was the first Latino person of color to serve as a principal.

He said that only 35% of teaching staff consider themselves to be people of color, adding, “We have to do more.”

But Charles Toombs, president of the California Teachers Association, a union representing CSU faculty and staff, said in a video response to the CSU status report that CSU should do more to support teachers and students in the past 18 months.

“Many faculty and staff need training and support, and when CSU fights back, we strengthen and make sure we get more funds to receive appropriate training to convert courses online,” Toombs said. He also accused the CSU system of ending additional Covid-19 paid sick leave, which forced the union to support Senate Bill 95 signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The legislation provides paid sick leave for Covid-19, but only on September 30.

Despite the fierce rhetoric, CSU did not provide clear guidelines on how to provide training so that faculty and staff can better understand and communicate more effectively with students and other staff from different cultural backgrounds, despite the allocation of 10 million in its budget U.S. dollars are used to do this, said Aparna Sinha, a professor at California Maritime University.

Sinha told the CSU trustee that she led a trade union-sponsored anti-racism seminar at CSU, “I… constantly see and hear about the understanding gaps in anti-racism and fair practices on campus. Our faculty Workers need professional development training around social justice, and now is the time for our managers to start paying attention to it.”

World Nation News Desk
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