CSU faculty told not to campaign in class


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At California State University, where applicants will be warned that the failure of the governor’s tax measure in November could hurt their chances of admission, faculty members are being advised to tone down their campaigning.

The chancellor’s office is spreading the word that it is not OK to advocate for the measure during class time.


“We asked provosts to remind faculty and others that we can’t do any [campaigning] in the classroom,” said Claudia Keith, a spokeswoman for the CSU system. “We wanted to make sure to let the faculty and deans know what we need to be doing not to cross over that line.”

A memo that went to faculty members from the provost at CSU Sacramento on Wednesday warns, “It is unlawful for any state employee to use or permit others to use state resources for a campaign activity,” and cites the state code section saying so. “Class time and classroom spaces should not be used for inappropriate political advocacy.”

At CSU San Bernardino, student Matthew Stever, 48, said that his sociology class Tuesday began with an aggressive pitch for the measure, complete with a PowerPoint presentation. It focused, he said, on the prospect that a recent tuition hike could be rolled back if the Proposition 30 passes.

“Who wants to reverse that 9% tuition increase?” said the top of one slide in the presentation, which Stever shared with The Times. Beneath the bold text were a bunch of hands raised high in the air. Another slide featured students pointing their thumbs down. It said: “Who wants to pay MORE for their tuition next term?”

A later frame advises that “students must get out to VOTE to seize the opportunity for lower tuition.”

Stever said he is all for professors urging students to vote. “But when you start telling people how to vote and they will get money back if they vote a certain way, you might as well be standing at the ballot box with dollar bills,” he said.


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-- Evan Halper in Sacramento