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Cal State faculty votes to take furloughs

July 24, 2009 | 12:05 pm

California State University faculty have narrowly voted to accept work furloughs, averting what administrators had warned would be mass layoffs and tens of thousands of class cancellations at the nation’s largest university system, the faculty union announced today.

Professors in the 23-campus university system had complained that the two-day-a month furlough proposal was just a pay cut by another name, as it included no provisions to reduce their workloads.  But in the end, they voted  54% to 46% to go along with what Chancellor Charles B. Reed framed as the best way to save faculty jobs and preserve courses in the face of dire state budget cuts.

The university, which educates about 400,000 students, earlier this week raised fees 20% — on top of a 10% fee increase approved in May — to meet a $584-million budget gap. Students now pay $4,026 a year in system charges not including room, board, books and separate fees charged by each campus.

Cal State also plans to cut its enrollment by 40,000 students, or 10%, over the next two years.

--  Gale Holland