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Cal State Monterey Bay sued over pro-Prop 30 email

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An anti-tax group is suing Cal State Monterey Bay over an email that urged students to support Proposition 30.  That’s Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative to stem further cuts to education. 

The email was written by Professor Ernest Stromberg, director of Humanities and Communications at Cal State Monterey Bay.

Stromberg's email laid out a passionate case for a "yes" vote on Prop 30. He wrote that the Cal State system would face $250 million in cuts if Prop 30 fails, and he wrote that faculty jobs are on the line.

Then Stromberg hit “send” - and the email landed in the "in" boxes of 360 Monterey Bay students.

It would have been legal if Stromberg had used a Gmail or Yahoo email account. But the professor used his Cal State Montrey Bay work email.

That’s why the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has sued, claiming Stromberg violated a state campaign law against using public resources for mass political mailings.

And the CSU system agrees. General Counsel Christine Helwick released the following statement:

"The California State University agrees that Professor Stromberg's email was inappropriate and unfortunate.  It was sent by him as an individual, and not on behalf of the institution.  We have previously reminded faculty and staff that it is not permissible to use state resources including classroom time for any political advocacy.  This email clearly crossed that line and the campus is taking appropriate personnel action."

CSU officials said the campus is taking “appropriate personnel action” against Stromberg, but they did not give specifics. 

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