Fall 2009 Convocation Speech

Dolores Bainter
Staff Representative to the Academic Senate
August 24, 2009

Fall 2009 Speakers

Ruben Armiñana

Eduardo Ochoa
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Susan Moulton
Chair of the Faculty

Heather Hanson
Associated Students President

Dolores Bainter
Staff Representative to the Academic Senate

President Armiñana, Provost Ochoa, Faculty Senate Chair Moulton, Associated Students President Hansen, California Faculty Association President Merrifield, students, faculty and staff.

First, I would like to thank Lane Olson for her thoughtful and insightful service as staff representative to the Academic Senate for the past three years. What a wonderful role model she has been for me as I begin my tenure in that position. I would also like to say to the staff that I am proud to represent you and hope to serve well. Of course, much will depend on you because I will need your input, not only concerns, but also what is working for you as members of the campus community.

I want to acknowledge the serious sacrifice we are all making whether in furloughs, lay-offs, or higher tuition. We are facing a difficult year in which our patience, tolerance and understanding will be tested beyond anything that we have dealt with in the past. Some of us have partners and family members who have been laid off, or have had their hours reduced. Some are facing losing their homes, unpaid bills, and even the lack of enough money to put food on the table. You may think this is an exaggeration, but I have spoken to people who will not be able to buy groceries to sustain them for an entire month due to the furlough.

What does this mean to us as members of the campus community? We have an opportunity to change the campus culture. As with any institution, communication is always an issue. The best way that I can see to improve communication is to erase the lines of hierarchy and face each other as colleagues.

We also could benefit from more administrative support. For instance, if we need to start a food bank on this campus, will the administration assist in finding a free space, without beating down the project with impossible rules?  Our operating budgets have been slashed; doesnít it make sense for catering charges to be discounted to us?  After all, we are all members of the same team.

In that spirit, I want to tell you about some of the things staff have done to assist each other. Thanks in part to the efforts of Cathi Cari-Shudde, there is a now SSU Staff Furlough site on Facebook. This is an off-campus site that offers staff the opportunity to join discussion boards, post barters, and exchanges, let others know of part-time job opportunities. Counseling Services will offer free one-on-one counseling or support groups. Also, did you know that there is a Staff Development Fund created by donations from staff? It is a foundation account administered by University Development team. This year, Janet Henker and other staffers have organized 3 speaker events for this Fall. As you leave today, staffers will be handing out flyers for these events. Now, it is your opportunity to offer your ideas. I look forward to your collaboration.

We have an opportunity to be a little kinder to one another, to realize and accept that we cannot serve at the levels of the past, and try to support one another in small ways that will make a big difference.

Thank you.