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Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – July 19, 2016

Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting – Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
July 19, 2016

Thank you, Chair Eisen… and congratulations on your new role as chair. I welcome your leadership.

There is perhaps nothing that can better endear a new chair to her board more than a one-day meeting, so Becky, you’re off to a great start.

I would also like to welcome three new campus presidents attending today… Ellen JunnGayle Hutchinson and Judy Sakaki … thank you for serving the students, faculty, staff and alumni of this university and the people of California. I look forward to your insight, hard work and leadership.

And I look forward to welcoming the incoming presidents of Channel Islands and San José, Erika Beck and Mary Papazian, during the September meeting.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Fresno State president Joe Castro for receiving the 2016 Distinguished Servant Leadership Award from the Executive Leadership Academy, a program sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education.

President Castro was honored for his extraordinary support and involvement throughout the Executive Leadership Academy’s history… serving as a founding fellow, board member and event sponsor… and advancing thirteen fellows to the program.

Congrats, Joe.

Although the Spring term ended last month, our campuses remain vibrant centers of action… and not just for catching Pokémon.

In addition to active research by faculty and students, on and off campus… summer sessions, institutes and enrichment programs for current and incoming students are in full swing… And our campuses are adding new research institutes and centers that will help enrich the learning environment for our students and develop new ideas and innovations for the public good.

San Diego State, for example, recently earned a $10 million award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to improve their infrastructure in order to better support population health and health disparities research.

The award — funded by the National Institutes of Health — will boost San Diego State researchers’ capacity to conduct pioneering public health research and collaborate across disciplines and institutions.

Continuing a long and proud legacy, San Francisco State established the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies… following a generous five million dollar gift from Iranian-American philanthropist — and SF State alumna — Neda Nobari.

The Center will greatly enrich the study of the contributions of the Iranian diaspora to host communities in the United States and abroad… exploring new research and scholarship methods… and building on San Francisco State’s standing as a national leader for ethnic studies.

And Cal Poly Pomona is establishing the Asian American Transnational Research Initiative… endowed by a recent $100,000 gift from philanthropist Julia Huang… and tasked with better understanding the impact of our Asian American communities across the nation and around the world.

Last month, I had the honor of joining students, faculty, staff and administrators… as well as community members and researchers… at the first-ever CSU Conference to Best Meet the Needs of Housing Displaced and Food Insecure Students.

As you know, we commissioned an initial study nearly 15 months ago to better identify the scope of this crisis… and to begin to identify best practices — wherever they came from — that would bring about real solutions on each campus and systemwide.

This study, led by Professor Rashida Crutchfield at Cal State Long Beach, revealed that on average, one in five CSU students experienced food insecurity… meaning that they could not pay for nutritious food or were forced to regularly skip meals.

And one in twelve experienced housing displacement during the year… meaning that they lacked a stable, permanent, physical address… and were instead forced to couch surf, dorm crash or sleep in their cars. This included students who had no permanent home to return to during holidays and breaks.

Simply put… far too many of our students must focus on securing their most basic needs, in addition to excelling in academics. That is a tough road.

At the conference, I said that these revelations — and the brave testimony of our students — are both staggering and humbling.

They are a gasp. And it’s simply unacceptable.

These are our students. The future leaders of California. We must do all that we can to ensure that they have a place in this world where they can go when they are hungry and have no permanent place to sleep.

We also know that it’s not an issue solely plaguing the CSU… as indicated by a similar study recently announced by our sibling institution, the University of California.

I want to commend and thank President Napolitano and the UC regents for joining us in solving this crisis on their own campuses.

Indeed, in order to solve the crisis of food insecurity and housing displacement for our students, we must look across issue areas… dismantle the siloes between the various programs, departments and divisions on campus and across the system… we must partner with our fellow universities where we can, including the UC, community colleges and private institutions… and most crucially, we must learn from each other if we are to help all students, on every campus, arrive at a healthy, successful future.

We’ve seen the success of other public and private organizations in tackling serious, complex issues when they break down siloes and seek out partnerships… from the numerous college promise plans across California and the country to the work across council districts and myriad departments in South Los Angeles to bring meaningful improvements in housing, education, employment and basic city services.

We too, face intense challenges as we work to ensure that every student has security and consistency in their housing and nutrition. Yet, there is also no better institution than the California State University to find real, actionable and sustainable solutions to food insecurity and housing displacement.

I am certain of this… and I am certain that we will continue to ensure access, transformation and impact for all 475,000 students.

Lastly, I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to the images we’ve been projecting over the course of today’s meeting… of the brand new, completely reimagined CalState.edu.

This site is the product of a lot of deep thought and data analysis… and is centered on telling the story of the CSU and its students, faculty, staff and alumni… while delivering useful information in the most intuitive, stakeholder-centered way possible.

I want to thank our IT, communications and web services teams for their incredible work… with a special shout out to Robin Wade.

And if you’re curious about our new site, I encourage you to experience it yourself on our giant interactive touchscreen in the lobby.

I don’t know if Pokémon Go works on the touchscreen, but feel free to ask an IT staff member.

Chair Eisen, that concludes my report.