Sacramento – The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association announced today it is filing a lawsuit against Cal State University after discovering personnel used taxpayer-funded resources to solicit students in favor of Proposition 30 the $50 billion tax increase on this November’s ballot.
The complaint was submitted against Cal State University (CSU) Monterey Bay after the Humanities Department sent an email communication to students blatantly advocating for Prop. 30. The message urged students to “work together to pass Prop. 30” and even went so far as to offer an inducement that if Prop. 30 passes “students will get a $498 tuition refund.” The email requested students to share the communication with their families (presumably parents who pay the tuition) and to “encourage them to vote their support for the CSU System this November.” The transmission was sent from the Department’s official email address to students at their CSU Monterey email addresses and was signed by Director Ernest Stromberg who is named as an additional defendant in the case.
Using public resources for political campaigning violates Government Code section 8314 which states “It is unlawful for … any state … appointee employee or consultant to use or permit others to use public resources for a campaign activity or personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law.”
Government Code section 89001 provides “No newsletter or other mass mailing shall be sent at public expense.” Section 82041.5 defines “mass mailing” as a mailing to more than 200 recipients. Defendant Stromberg’s email to approximately 360 students qualifies as a prohibited mass mailing. Both CSU Monterey and the individuals involved can be held liable for the actions the suit contends.
“This campaign mailing violates the constitutional rights of taxpayers and students whose tax dollars and student fees are being misused to promote a political cause which they do not support” said Jon Coupal President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “This is one more example of those inside government who are taking advantage of their taxpayer-funded positions to force their political beliefs upon students.”
The complaint against CSU Monterey comes just one week after a CSU Fresno professor reportedly forced students to advocate in favor of Prop. 30 on a mid-term exam and just one month after a CSU Long Beach professor utilized the CSU Long Beach email system to encourage faculty to volunteer to help pass Prop. 30 and provided links to unions’ campaign headquarters.
The lawsuit was submitted this morning to the Monterey County Superior Court.
Click here for a copy of the lawsuit.