A Message from President Corrigan
Against the barrage of negative budget news coming out of Sacramento, it is easy to lose sight of the good things that are still going forward. Despite system-wide belt tightening, the California State University has so far been able to maintain both affordability and access to a high-quality university education for the qualified students who turn to it in growing numbers. Even after the recent 30 percent increase in the State University Fee, CSU students still pay less than their counterparts at any comparable public university in the country.
San Francisco State remains one of the country's finest public, urban universities, turning out highly skilled graduates who will help lead California into a new era of prosperity and growth. As an institution, we already contribute mightily to the California economy. A newly released analysis by SFSU's Michael Potepan, associate professor of economics, found that in one year alone, San Francisco State contributed nearly $1.2 billion to the San Francisco Bay Area economy while supporting about 15,150 jobs through direct and indirect spending. More than a university, San Francisco State, with 29,686 students and 3,276 employees, is a vital and vibrant part of the region's and state's economy.
In past months, we have showcased the University's stellar alumni, faculty and students in a series of ads in the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Business Times. (You can view them from the SF State News Web site, www.sfsu.edu/~news.) In this issue of SFSU Magazine we profile others who you may be surprised to learn are members of the SFSU family -- KQED radio host Michael Krasny, "Under the Tuscan Sun" author Frances Mayes, and Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat.
I do not wish to minimize the difficult times we are facing. The state's fiscal crisis has hit the CSU hard, forcing painful increases in fees and limits on enrollment. But confronted with a $14.1 million budget deficit at the beginning of the academic year, San Francisco State immediately went to work to find ways to absorb this financial blow while causing the least disruption to students' academic lives. Through intensive planning and carefully targeted spending cuts, we managed to preserve the vast majority of class sections and student services.
With the state budget outlook worsening, deeper cuts at San Francisco State are inevitable. With this in mind, we are already taking steps to pare our spending further while also looking at ways to increase revenue and move units toward self-sufficiency, wherever possible. These are indeed challenging times. But California has weathered boom-and-bust cycles in the past and will do so again. In the meantime, San Francisco State will continue to do what it does best: providing access to high-quality education at an affordable price.
Robert A. Corrigan