CSU May Cut Future Enrollment by 10,000

Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
Cal State Long Beach and other campuses have moved up their deadlines as more students apply. For the first time, the system might turn away qualified students. Minority and low-income groups would probably be hardest hit by the cuts, which could amount to a 10% drop in freshman enrollment.

By Gale Holland
November 18, 2008
The California State University system for the first time in its history is proposing to turn away qualified students due to a worsening state budget crisis.

As part of a plan to slash its 450,000 enrollment by 10,000 students for the 2009-2010 academic year, the 23-campus system, the nation’s largest, will push up application deadlines and raise the academic bar for freshmen at its most popular campuses, Chancellor Charles B. Reed said Monday.

The university has never tried this type of enrollment cap, and Cal State officials said they cannot be sure how it will work. While sophomore transfers and out-of-state and international students will be squeezed, California high school graduates probably will bear the brunt of the downsizing, officials said. The university typically admits 45,000 to 50,000 freshmen each year; if even half the reductions land on them, it would mean a 10% drop in first-year admissions.

“These are going to be kids who have done everything they’re supposed to do, and told year after year they’ll have this opportunity,” said Kathy Rapkin, chair of the counseling department at Arcadia High School and past president and Southern California regional representative for the California Assn. of School Counselors. “These kids are not going to get a place.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger convened a special session of the Legislature this month to deal with a budget shortfall that could swell to $24 billion by mid-2010.

Reed said the Cal State system anticipates $66 million in midyear budget cuts, and further reductions for 2009-2010. He refused to discuss whether a fee hike is in store for next year. His enrollment plan comes as demand for Cal State admission soars; applications are up 10% from the same time a year ago, officials said.

Reed said he would consult with Cal State’s Board of Trustees at their meeting Wednesday, but he already has the authority to impose enrollment restrictions and is planning to act soon.

“This is something California State University has never done,” he said in a conference call with reporters.

Cal State is not the only higher education institution reporting financially driven enrollment issues. The University of California said it might have to limit admission to its most popular campuses and send more students to those with extra space, typically Riverside and Merced. At the state’s community colleges, actual enrollment probably won’t be limited but students’ access to classes may be, officials said.

“We won’t be able to offer them the classes they need,” said Diane Woodruff, chancellor of the California Community Colleges.

She predicted that the lack of classes could drive away 250,000 full- or part-time students; 2.7 million are now enrolled in that system.

The basic requirements for admission to Cal State are high school graduation, completion of college prep course work and a B average. Students with a C average or above can get in with good SAT or ACT test scores.

A number of Cal State’s sought-after campuses have for several years cut off some or all applications in the fall, but the official deadline was in the spring and some colleges accepted eligible applicants up to and including the first day of classes.

This year the cutoff for many campuses is Nov. 30, and all colleges will stop taking applications by March 1. San Francisco State has set a Dec. 10 deadline.

Some campuses, including Sonoma, Channel Islands, Northridge, Chico, San Jose, San Marcos and San Francisco, will continue to take all fully qualified students from their own communities. But students from other parts of California may have to show higher grade-point averages and test scores to make the cut at these and other campuses, officials said.

San Diego State, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the most popular campuses, have imposed similar academic restrictions for several years.

Reed said the enrollment cutback will be felt most deeply by students of color already underrepresented in the four-year college system.

“Many students from under-served groups and families of color . . . are unsure about financial aid, when and how to apply . . . and do not make up their minds until spring,” he said. They are “who I worry about most.”

Lourdes Garcia-Meza, a counselor at John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, said low- and middle-income minority students at her school could be hit hard.

“These are good students and they worked really hard to make it at Cal State Northridge and Cal State L.A.,” she said. “It’s going to be heartbreaking.”

Cal State officials said the cap is a better option than increasing class size or dropping course sections, as they did during a previous economic downturn in the early 1990s. Many students could not enroll in the classes they wanted and dropped out, bringing enrollment figures down.

Cal State currently receives $2.97 billion of its budget from the state’s general fund and $1.5 billion from student fees. The system has raised fees six times in seven years. The cost of attending a Cal State college, not including housing, books and other living expenses, is about $3,800 a year.

State Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell urged the state Legislature to raise enough revenue to provide higher education to all eligible students.

“Providing access to higher education for all qualified students is key to strengthening our economy in the future,” O’Connell said in a written statement.

Holland is a Times staff writer.

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CSU May Cut Future Enrollment by 10,000

"So I be written in the Book of Love…"

TRANSCRIPT:
“Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics, and this isn’t really just about Prop-8. And I don’t have a personal investment in this: I’m not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics.

This is about the… human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not… understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want — a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

More below the fold.
Only now you are saying to them — no. You can’t have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don’t cause too much trouble. You’ll even give them all the same legal rights — even as you’re taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can’t marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn’t marry?
I keep hearing this term “re-defining” marriage.

If this country hadn’t re-defined marriage, black people still couldn’t marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal… in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it’s worse than that. If this country had not “re-defined” marriage, some black people still couldn’t marry…black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not “Until Death, Do You Part,” but “Until Death or Distance, Do You Part.” Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are… gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing — centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children… All because we said a man couldn’t marry another man, or a woman couldn’t marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage. How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the “sanctity” of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness — this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness — share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of…love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate. You don’t have to help it, you don’t have it applaud it, you don’t have to fight for it. Just don’t put it out. Just don’t extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don’t know and you don’t understand and maybe you don’t even want to know…It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow **person…

Just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

“I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam,” he told the judge.

“It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all:

“So I be written in the Book of Love;

“I do not care about that Book above.

“Erase my name, or write it as you will,

“So I be written in the Book of Love.”

Good night, and good luck.”

"So I be written in the Book of Love…"

Join the Impact – Protest Prop 8 on November 15th!

Tips For Saturday – Your Checklist
To everyone organizing and participating in Saturday’s INTERNATIONAL protest:

As Saturday’s events come closer, it’s time for that last minute check list to ensure that everything is covered:

Do you have permits? If you do not have permits yet, please work with your local LGBTQ organization to quickly obtain these. If you do not have a local LGBTQ organization, then please contact your local police and government to get their help
Please be as transparent with the police as possible. If you, like many of us, have found that your event grew from 300 to 3000 overnight, don’t hesitate to tell the police about these new projections. They are there to protect you and shouldn’t be stretched thin.
Make sure you don’t bring anything that would be considered a weapon – I know this sounds like common sense, but few people realize that the sticks they use for their signs have to be no thicker than 1/4″ or else they are considered a weapon.
Do you have speakers? Every city is handling this differently and that is perfectly fine. If you want to have speakers but don’t yet, here are some suggestions: Local religious leaders that are also gay allies, local members of the media, local LGBTQ advocates, local radio personalities, you – are you the organizer? Then you should speak.
Find your protest location. Contact the local organizer if you wish to volunteer.
Organize your volunteers. Give everyone who you can manage a job to help you keep things moving. Gather emails (we will soon compile all of these with you).
Finally – I want to make sure that we are always always always focusing on peaceful demonstrations. Please remain respectful of your neighbors and reach across the aisle to our opponents (I’m sorry for that extremely trite phrase considering how it’s been hammered into our heads this election year). This is an amazing opportunity to continue the conversation and drive change. Please keep promoting peace, respect, and outreach.
There are always loose ends to tie up. Please utilize the resources made available to you at HERE, and those available to you from your local organizations joining in this movement!

Thanks!

The JoinTheImpact Team
From JoinTheImpact

Join the Impact – Protest Prop 8 on November 15th!

Obama and the Politics of Uncritical Exuberance

Uncritical Exuberance?
Judith Butler

Very few of us are immune to the exhilaration of this time. My friends on the left write to me that they feel something akin to “redemption” or that “the country has been returned to us” or that “we finally have one of us in the White House.” Of course, like them, I discover myself feeling overwhelmed with disbelief and excitement throughout the day, since the thought of having the regime of George W. Bush over and gone is an enormous relief. And the thought of Obama, a thoughtful and progressive black candidate, shifts the historical ground, and we feel that cataclysm as it produces a new terrain. But let us try to think carefully about the shifted terrain, although we cannot fully know its contours at this time. The election of Barack Obama is historically significant in ways that are yet to be gauged, but it is not, and cannot be, a redemption, and if we subscribe to the heightened modes of identification that he proposes (“we are all united”) or that we propose (“he is one of us”), we risk believing that this political moment can overcome the antagonisms that are constitutive of political life, especially political life in these times. There have always been good reasons not to embrace “national unity” as an ideal, and to nurse suspicions toward absolute and seamless identification with any political leader. After all, fascism relied in part on that seamless identification with the leader, and Republicans engage this same effort to organize political affect when, for instance, Elizabeth Dole looks out on her audience and says, “I love each and every one of you.”

It becomes all the more important to think about the politics of exuberant identification with the election of Obama when we consider that support for Obama has coincided with support for conservative causes. In a way, this accounts for his “cross-over” success. In California, he won by 60% of the vote, and yet some significant portion of those who voted for him also voted against the legalization of gay marriage (52%). How do we understand this apparent disjunction? First, let us remember that Obama has not explicitly supported gay marriage rights. Further, as Wendy Brown has argued, the Republicans have found that the electorate is not as galvanized by “moral” issues as they were in recent elections; the reasons given for why people voted for Obama seem to be predominantly economic, and their reasoning seems more fully structured by neo-liberal rationality than by religious concerns. This is clearly one reason why Palin’s assigned public function to galvanize the majority of the electorate on moral issues finally failed. But if “moral” issues such as gun control, abortion rights and gay rights were not as determinative as they once were, perhaps that is because they are thriving in a separate compartment of the political mind. In other words, we are faced with new configurations of political belief that make it possible to hold apparently discrepant views at the same time: someone can, for instance, disagree with Obama on certain issues, but still have voted for him. This became most salient in the emergence of the counter Bradley-effect, when voters could and did explicitly own up to their own racism, but said they would vote for Obama anyway. Anecdotes from the field include claims like the following: “I know that Obama is a Muslim and a Terrorist, but I will vote for him anyway; he is probably better for the economy.” Such voters got to keep their racism and vote for Obama, sheltering their split beliefs without having to resolve them.

Along with strong economic motivations, less empirically discernible factors have come into play in these election results. We cannot underestimate the force of dis-identification in this election, a sense of revulsion that George W. has “represented” the United States to the rest of the world, a sense of shame about our practices of torture and illegal detention, a sense of disgust that we have waged war on false grounds and propagated racist views of Islam, a sense of alarm and horror that the extremes of economic deregulation have led to a global economic crisis. Is it despite his race, or because of his race, that Obama finally emerged as a preferred representative of the nation? Fulfilling that representative-function, he is at once black and not-black (some say “not black enough” and others say “too black”), and, as a result, he can appeal to voters who not only have no way of resolving their ambivalence on this issue, but do not want one. The public figure who allows the populace to sustain and mask its ambivalence nevertheless appears as a figure of “unity”: this is surely an ideological function. Such moments are intensely imaginary, but not for that reason without their political force.

As the election approached, there has been an increased focus on the person of Obama: his gravity, his deliberateness, his ability not to lose his temper, his way of modeling a certain evenness in the face of hurtful attacks and vile political rhetoric, his promise to reinstate a version of the nation that will overcome its current shame. Of course, the promise is alluring, but what if the embrace of Obama leads to the belief that we might overcome all dissonance, that unity is actually possible? What is the chance that we may end up suffering a certain inevitable disappointment when this charismatic leader displays his fallibility, his willingness to compromise, even to sell out minorities? He has, in fact, already done this in certain ways, but many of us “set aside” our concerns in order to enjoy the extreme un-ambivalence of this moment, risking an uncritical exuberance even when we know better. Obama is, after all, hardly a leftist, regardless of the attributions of “socialism” proffered by his conservative opponents. In what ways will his actions be constrained by party politics, economic interests, and state power; in what ways have they been compromised already? If we seek through this presidency to overcome a sense of dissonance, then we will have jettisoned critical politics in favor of an exuberance whose phantasmatic dimensions will prove consequential. Maybe we cannot avoid this phantasmatic moment, but let us be mindful about how temporary it is. If there are avowed racists who have said, “I know that he is a Muslim and a terrorist, but I will vote for him anyway,” there are surely also people on the left who say, “I know that he has sold out gay rights and Palestine, but he is still our redemption.” I know very well, but still: this is the classic formulation of disavowal. Through what means do we sustain and mask conflicting beliefs of this sort? And at what political cost?

There is no doubt that Obama’s success will have significant effects on the economic course of the nation, and it seems reasonable to assume that we will see a new rationale for economic regulation and for an approach to economics that resembles social democratic forms in Europe; in foreign affairs, we will doubtless see a renewal of multi-lateral relations, the reversal of a fatal trend of destroying multilateral accords that the Bush administration has undertaken. And there will doubtless also be a more generally liberal trend on social issues, though it is important to remember that Obama has not supported universal health care, and has failed to explicitly support gay marriage rights. And there is not yet much reason to hope that he will formulate a just policy for the United States in the Middle East, even though it is a relief, to be sure, that he knows Rashid Khalidi.

The indisputable significance of his election has everything to do with overcoming the limits implicitly imposed on African-American achievement; it has and will inspire and overwhelm young African-Americans; it will, at the same time, precipitate a change in the self-definition of the United States. If the election of Obama signals a willingness on the part of the majority of voters to be “represented” by this man, then it follows that who “we” are is constituted anew: we are a nation of many races, of mixed races; and he offers us the occasion to recognize who we have become and what we have yet to be, and in this way a certain split between the representative function of the presidency and the populace represented appears to be overcome. That is an exhilarating moment, to be sure. But can it last, and should it?

To what consequences will this nearly messianic expectation invested in this man lead? In order for this presidency to be successful, it will have to lead to some disappointment, and to survive disappointment: the man will become human, will prove less powerful than we might wish, and politics will cease to be a celebration without ambivalence and caution; indeed, politics will prove to be less of a messianic experience than a venue for robust debate, public criticism, and necessary antagonism. The election of Obama means that the terrain for debate and struggle has shifted, and it is a better terrain, to be sure. But it is not the end of struggle, and we would be very unwise to regard it that way, even provisionally. We will doubtless agree and disagree with various actions he takes and fails to take. But if the initial expectation is that he is and will be “redemption” itself, then we will punish him mercilessly when he fails us (or we will find ways to deny or suppress that disappointment in order to keep alive the experience of unity and unambivalent love).

If a consequential and dramatic disappointment is to be averted, he will have to act quickly and well. Perhaps the only way to avert a “crash” – a disappointment of serious proportions that would turn political will against him – will be to take decisive actions within the first two months of his presidency. The first would be to close Guantanamo and find ways to transfer the cases of detainees to legitimate courts; the second would be to forge a plan for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and to begin to implement that plan. The third would be to retract his bellicose remarks about escalating war in Afghanistan and pursue diplomatic, multilateral solutions in that arena. If he fails to take these steps, his support on the left will clearly deteriorate, and we will see the reconfiguration of the split between liberal hawks and the anti-war left. If he appoints the likes of Lawrence Summers to key cabinet positions, or continues the failed economic polices of Clinton and Bush, then at some point the messiah will be scorned as a false prophet. In the place of an impossible promise, we need a series of concrete actions that can begin to reverse the terrible abrogation of justice committed by the Bush regime; anything less will lead to a dramatic and consequential disillusionment. The question is what measure of dis-illusion is necessary in order to retrieve a critical politics, and what more dramatic form of dis-illusionment will return us to the intense political cynicism of the last years. Some relief from illusion is necessary, so that we might remember that politics is less about the person and the impossible and beautiful promise he represents than it is about the concrete changes in policy that might begin, over time, and with difficulty, bring about conditions of greater justice.

Obama and the Politics of Uncritical Exuberance