Message from President Wong: College budgets


Dear SF State community,

Among our University’s greatest strengths, as reinforced in our strategic plan’s core values, is a shared commitment to community. This includes our stated objective to increase engagement and responsiveness to student, staff and faculty concerns.

With these principles in mind, it has been particularly gratifying to me to be reminded of the deep support across the University for the College of Ethnic Studies, as expressed through letters of support our office has received as well as by the many conversations initiated by students and faculty members in recent days. The College's place of pride for SF State is well deserved, as both the first and only College of Ethnic Studies in the nation.

Unfortunately, a misapprehension has arisen that I want to dispel. Be assured that no plan exists to reduce the yearly budget for any of our six colleges, including the College of Ethnic Studies. While our 2016-17 budget for the University has not been finalized, we expect this year's allocation to closely resemble last year's.

What has changed is how we respond to programs, including colleges, that run annual deficits, as has been the case for Ethnic Studies in recent years. When budget gaps have been discovered in other programs, a strategy was developed that allowed the program to continue while arranging to pay back its debt to the University within a set timeframe. In the case of the College of Ethnic Studies, no reimbursement plan has been requested. But the college has been asked to adapt to new budgetary discipline moving forward.

Adapting to new budgetary guidelines can come with challenges and, as I'm hearing from members of the College and others in the SF State community, anxiety about the unknown. As a lifelong educator, I believe strongly that increasing knowledge can greatly decrease concerns.

In that spirit, I'll be meeting with students for a College of Ethnic Studies community discussion. As always, I invite you to share your thoughts and questions with me at

Les Wong
San Francisco State University