Following Union-Requested State Audit, CSU Chancellor Vows Greater Transparency CSUEU members pack audit hearing to press for more oversight of CSU’s $1.5 billion surplus Summoned to answer to a highly critical state audit, CSU Chancellor White faced a room full of skeptical legislators, employees, and students who repeatedly questioned why student tuition increased and staff were furloughed even as the University sat atop a massive surplus. The nearly-four-hour legislative hearing was a significant win for CSU Employees Union members who had worked with Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva in calling for a rigorous examination of CSU’s multiple pots of money. Our Union’s efforts to demand greater accountability from the CSU rests on a simple principle: All stakeholders should have input in how the University manages public funds and whether they are being invested in quality education for students and quality jobs for frontline staff. “Why haven’t essential student programs for mental health counseling and food insecurities been funded?” asked Catherine Hutchinson, CSUEU’s Vice President for Finance, during public testimony. “Why are 20,000 CSU support staff being underpaid and overworked, while the number of management positions keeps increasing, along with their salaries? On behalf of the employees who support the academics and operations of the University – and on behalf of the students we serve – we encourage the Legislature to enact measures that will prevent future misuses of state funds and student tuition. And we urge you to take affirmative steps to repair and restore confidence in the financial management of the CSU.” View the hearing here. CSUEU Members In the House More than 50 CSUEU members from across the state attended the Joint Legislative Oversight Hearing, which was also attended by members from the Teamsters and the Academic Professionals of California. Click here for photos from the day. State Auditor Elaine Howle titled her audit report: “California State University: It Failed to Fully Disclose Its $1.5 Billion Surplus, and It Has Not Adequately Invested in Alternatives to Costly Parking Facilities.” Howle recommended the CSU establish parameters identifying how and when reserves may be used, calling them “safeguards” to protect the funds. The audit’s conclusion, which CSUEU agrees with, is that the surplus funds are not restricted and may be used for on-going operations. 'At the end of the day we are talking about alleged mismanagement of student dollars. Truth shouldn’t be this hard to pursue,” said Grace Pang, Vice President for Legislative Affairs with the California State Student Association. “We did not know about it (the surplus), and we continue to have gaps in information.' The student’s testimony was supported by multiple legislators who similarly attested they were not aware of the CSU surplus. Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, of San Diego, pointed out that during recessionary years, staff took 10% salary cuts and students’ tuition rose by 80% - all while CSU was sitting on a massive surplus. She called it “shameful.” Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, of Sacramento, said: “It just doesn’t make sense, to me, to students out there, at a time when you needed the money the most, you didn’t use it.” People might say, he continued, “WTF?” Chancellor White vowed to be extra transparent going forward, promising more “granular presentations” to the Board of Trustees, legislators and the CSU community in the future. Support our union activism! We were highly encouraged that Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, of Los Angeles, defended CSU employees and reiterated his support for CSUEU-sponsored legislation (AB 369) to restore salary steps. He urged the CSU to use some of the surplus funds to correct salary inequities for support staff. CSUEU members will continue to advocate for change and improvements for a better CSU for all. Our efforts are made possible through our Political Activities Committee funds. Join the Union and contribute to PAC today! “It was powerful to see so many of our members in the room with support from labor allies. Our energy and presence had a tremendous impact at the hearing,” said Vicky McLeod, chair of CSUEU’s legislative committee. “We’ve had multiple audits, this was just one more, and the fight is not over. As long as we have the numbers and folks continue to show up, we will continue the work of building a CSU that serves everyone.” Click here for media coverage. Read our CSUEU press release .