SAN BERNARDINO, CA- Black Scholars Matter, Dreamers (Undocumented – AB540), and representatives from a cross-section of our diverse student body here at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) have combined forces to address an unsettling matter that has been perpetuated on our campus in recent years.
It is a matter of great pride that CSUSB serves as a beacon of tolerance, advocacy, and community partnership and for the past several years we have been aggressively promoting unity, inclusivity, empowerment, and shared governance. However, our rich tradition of San Bernardino Strength is in jeopardy as a result of what can only be defined as the self-serving interests of specific CSUSB entities at the exclusion of what is best for our students. That said, this open letter is to share our frustration and disappointment with The Faculty Senate at CSUSB.
It is our position that The Faculty Senate has waged a concerted effort to alienate – undermine – and dismiss students’ voices on campus. Furthermore, the Faculty Senate continues to promote academic segregation and has strategically worked to devalue students’ input. As students at CSUSB we find the recent climate survey to be divisive, misleading, conveniently inaccurate, and deliberately designed to attack President Morales and his administration.
It is no secret that as our first Latino President at California State University, San Bernardino (a federally recognized Hispanic Serving Institution), President Morales has been the recipient of open hostility – particularly from faculty members who have undeniably expressed their unequivocal prejudices towards our president and by extension towards our students. Moreover, as students of color from diverse backgrounds ourselves, we have experienced firsthand discrimination and alienation in our own classrooms from some faculty members. The inability and/or unwillingness of our Faculty Senate to listen to and address our concerns has caused us to pursue a variety of avenues of recourse – both within and without the university – in order to ensure an accessible and quality education for ALL students – not just SOME students. This is particularly important when 80% of our students are First Generation enrollees who lack the institutional knowledge to navigate “The System” by themselves.
Black Scholars Matter, Dreamers (Undocumented – AB540) and representatives from a cross-section of our diverse student body on campus have worked with President Morales and his administration (in addition to College Deans, Department Chairs, Student Affairs Officers, and willing faculty members) to promote unity, autonomy, professionalism, academic efficacy, and a climate that encourages inclusivity. Students have publically supported President Morales because, unlike The Faculty Senate, President Morales values and encourages our participation in the shared governance process. President Morales’ contributions to our success include, but are not limited to: increased jobs for students on campus, increased student scholarships, and expanded student resources and access to said resources – just to name a few. Thus, it is no surprise that The Faculty Senate intentionally excluded student participation in the climate survey.
As student representatives, we have attended The Faculty Senate meetings and find their presentations offensive, destructive, and unproductive. The Faculty Senate does not represent many of the amazing faculty members we have on campus. The Faculty Senate is comprised of entrenched faculty members who neglect our students so as to utilize their taxpayer funded tenure time to wage war against President Morales.
Fortunately, CSUSB is also home to faculty members who do not attack our students, but work with our students to improve our professional and academic careers. These faculty members get very little credit and many times no recognition. The corruption in which the climate survey was conducted does not in any way reflect on our real allies who actually work to improve our academic and professional climate here at CSUSB. In many cases, these faculty members are also silenced by the entrenched faculty of The Faculty Senate.
At a time when the City of San Bernardino is garnering international notoriety for our very real problems with crime, poverty, and economic instability our sole focus at CSUSB should be to serve as the intellectual and cultural hub for our shared communities. With the eyes of the world on us, we should be the model of shared governance, tolerance, and inclusivity. That is why it is critical that we here at CSUSB accept our charter and work together to improve not only the climate of our campus but of our entire City of San Bernardino. As students at CSUSB in order to support a city we love, we are committed to finding ways to stay in San Bernardino after we graduate in order to help address some of the social and economic disparities we have both witnessed and experienced firsthand. We shouldn’t have to battle our own faculty to accomplish this goal. We look forward to the day when The Faculty Senate (and some of their faculty supporting allies) can get over their prejudices and narcissism so that we can all work together towards the renaissance of San Bernardino as one of the best cities in which to live, work, and learn.