President Tomás D. Morales is leading a group of Cal State San Bernardino students, administrators, alumni and supporters as part of the California State University’s annual Advocacy Day, where officials from the 23 campuses will meet virtually with state legislators and government officials to talk about issues vital to the university.

CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro and California Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, were the keynote speakers to open the extended Advocacy Day which now runs through Feb. 5.

Instead of visiting the state capitol in Sacramento, this year’s CSU Advocacy Day is being held virtually over the span of a week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the suspension of all large gatherings, events and face-to-face meetings, and has seriously affected the CSU – creating concerns about state funding and its budget.

Those include the investment of additional state funding: The CSU is grappling with unprecedented budget challenges as a result of a recent state budget cut of $299 million, as well as heavy losses of more than $700 million in revenues from self-support enterprises such as student housing, dining services and parking.

Cal State San Bernardino’s share of the state budget cut amounted to more than $10 million and on top of the budget reduction, the university is facing challenges with nearly $30 million in COVID-related costs and lost revenues.

The CSU Board of Trustees is requesting the Legislature’s support for an additional $365 million in recurring funds and an additional $565 million in one-time funds.

The CSU will invest the additional funding in three key areas that will help with the state’s economic recovery. Those areas are to maintain jobs in the CSU; prepare more skilled, job-ready graduates for California’s diverse workforce; and create jobs as an example for academic facilities and infrastructure projects.

The CSU will advocate that the university is key to California’s economic recovery as the CSU produces more than 100,000 graduates each year who fill jobs that drive the state’s economy. CSUSB alone produces 6,000 graduates each year who remain in the Inland Empire and fill jobs important to the local economy, including healthcare, business computer science, education and government. For every dollar the state invests in the CSU, it gets a return of $5.

Joining President Morales in the CSUSB delegation are ASI President Graciela Moran, ASI Director of External Affairs Jeanette Hazelwood, immediate past president CSU Alumni Council and CSUSB alumna Dia S. Poole, CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation Vice Chair Mark C. Edwards, past chairman of the CSU Board of Trustees and Trustee Emeritus Lou Monville, University Advancement Vice President Robert Nava, and Alumni, Government and Community Associate Vice President Pamela D. Langford.

The CSUSB delegation is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Feb. 3, with Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Reyes, D-San Bernardino, and state Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore. On Thursday, Feb. 4, the delegation will meet with Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Yucaipa; Assemblymember Chad Mayes, I-Yucca Valley; Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella; Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino; Assemblymember Jose Medina, D-Riverside, Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside; and Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita. On Friday, Feb. 5, the delegation will meet with Assemblymember Thurston Smith, R-Apple Valley.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, President Morales will be part of a CSU delegation that will attend a briefing with the California Latino Legislative Caucus. The meeting will be led by state Sen. María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, who chairs the caucus; and Vice Chair Assemblymember Robert Rivas, D-Salinas Valley.