December 2, 2011

Dear Cal State East Bay Student:

After you complete your final exams next week, I hope you will enjoy a well-deserved holiday break and reflect back on the fall quarter as the successful start of another challenging and rewarding academic year.

Looking ahead, the University continues to struggle with the impact of a state budget that cut $650 million from the CSU system this year and is likely to cut another $100 million in the coming weeks. All of us — you as students, our faculty, and the staff at Cal State East Bay — are painfully aware that as a result of these cuts, the CSU Board of Trustees was forced to approve a tuition fee increase for fall 2012 of $498 per year for undergraduate students. I want you to know that the trustees struggled with this decision, but the state's sad neglect of public higher education left them few options.

Here at Cal State East Bay, we continue to do all we can to manage budget cuts by reducing administrative overhead, consolidating operations, not filling vacated positions, and tapping our dwindling savings. But that simply isn't enough.

The Board of Trustees has therefore developed a budget proposal for fiscal year 2012-13 that will ask the state to restore $333 million to the CSU. We must now convince Governor Brown and the Legislature to support this proposal. Our state lawmakers are the ones who set the policy that determines how much money the CSU receives each year. Their decisions have the single largest impact on the quality and cost of attending a CSU school, and they need to hear how much higher education matters to their constituents.

Educators from across the state are coming together to advocate for this budget plan. We have reached out to parents and alumni and urged them to join the effort. But I don't need to tell you that the most powerful voices will be those of our students. We need you to speak up to our elected officials.

I hope that in the coming weeks you will contact them through e-mail, phone calls, and by going to their offices. They need to hear from you about the real consequences of budget cuts and how they affect your education. Let them know how important their support of public higher education is to you, your family, and your future. You can find your state representative’s contact information online at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html.

We have seen efforts like this pay off before; two years ago, a unified advocacy campaign resulted in a multi-million dollar restoration to the CSU budget. Additionally, I hope all of you are registered to vote. If not, I urge you to register today and ensure that your voice is heard in the next election.

I also know that many of you have ideas about how we can come together to guarantee that our elected officials understand the importance of restoring state support for higher education and the CSU, keeping tuition affordable, ensuring you get the classes you need. I want to hear from you if you do. Use this feedback link to send me your suggestions — including your comments about why you chose to attend CSUEB, how the tuition hikes will affect you, and what you hope to accomplish with your degree. Your personal story and message can play an important role in convincing our elected officials to restore funding to the CSU budget.

No one is more committed to providing you with a quality education at an affordable cost than the faculty and staff at California State University, East Bay. Please join them and me in making our position heard and understood in Sacramento.

Leroy M. Morishita
Interim President

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