Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Former CSU Trustee Rep. Garamendi Honors California State University on its Fiftieth Anniversary

March 2, 2010
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, on the 50th anniversary of the California State University system, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), a former California State University trustee and University of California regent issued the following statement:

"Fifty years ago today, the State of California made a decision that would alter the course of a nation. By establishing the California State University system to work in conjunction with the University of California and California’s community colleges, our state’s forward thinking policymakers declared that California would be a state where higher education was the birthright of every qualified resident.

"Since then, CSU has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Because leaders in California’s past had the vision of what a better California could look like, the Golden State has become the world’s great innovator in computers, biotechnology, space exploration, and clean technology.

"The history of human civilization is replete with examples of great societies that fell into decline when they no longer prioritized education. We know that CSU returns $4.41 for every dollar the state invests in it, and CSU creates $13.6 billion in economic activity. What will happen to us if we continue to systematically defund the 23 CSU campuses that produce our future teachers, nurses, and engineers? What will happen to California if our leaders fail to recognize the fierce urgency of now?

"I was proud to serve as a California State University trustee, and it was saddening to witness almost yearly increases in student fees. I never voted for an undergraduate student fee increase – essentially a tax on students – because when we tell qualified students that we can’t afford to give them the education they deserve, we don’t just harm the individual. When we tell more than 40,000 qualified students that they are no longer welcome to an education in California, as we did in 2009, we are really saying that California is no longer prepared to be a leader in our global economy.

“Today is a day for celebration. CSU has been a pillar of growth for California for fifty years, and I congratulate all the administrators, faculty, staff, and students that have made it a success. But today must also be a call to action. We must unite to say it’s time to increase investment in education and California’s future."