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Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed – March 12, 2008

Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
Chancellor's Report
March 12​, 2008

Thank you, Madam Chair.

New Student Trustee:
I too want to welcome Curtis Grima as the new student trustee. We are pleased to have you with us as part of the CSU family. Listen to Jennifer (Reimer), our other student trustee, because you will learn a lot from her in your transition to being the voting trustee later on.

New Trustee:
I also want to welcome new Trustee Margaret Fortune who was appointed Monday to our board. With such short notice, she could not be here for this month’s meeting so we will officially welcome her in May.

She is the chief executive officer of Project Pipeline, a Sacramento-based non-profit with a 20-year track record of credentialing public school teachers. She has recently worked for Gov. Schwarzenegger and been a school superintendent and chair of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She has a long association with the CSU.

Speaking of trustees, I want to congratulate Chair Achtenberg and Trustee Mehas for being confirmed by the Senate. You made several trips to Sacramento, and it all went well.

Recent police incidents at campuses:
Several members of the board asked me to give a short update on two incidents involving guns on campuses. At about 12:30 a.m. today, there was a report of a person with a gun in a Northridge campus dorm. There was a lot of police activity – our campus police arrived in 2 or 3 minutes and city police also had many cars there. It turned out to be a boyfriend-girlfriend thing. No one was hurt and no gun was found.

A few weeks ago, a ROTC student walked across our Dominguez Hills campus with his dummy rifle. That caused lots of police and media activity; even CNN was there. I had just talked to the presidents the day before about our emergency preparedness and the need to practice our “active shooter” scenarios – President Millie Garcia got to practice it the very next day. Everything turned out fine there too.

We learned a lot last night at Northridge and before at Dominguez Hills, especially about the importance of communication in a crisis, and using such methods as text messaging, email and sirens in an emergency. I want to remind you that we all have to be prepared for these kinds of incidents. We hired James Lee Witt in 2000 to help us with our emergency plans, and even before 9/11 we practiced a terrorist attack at San Francisco State. We will keep practicing our plans.

10 years at CSU:
I want to say that this is the best board and the best group of presidents in the country.

It is 10 years this month that I officially became Chancellor of the California State University. I want to acknowledge the support all of you in this room have given to the CSU and our students. Together we have been a strong team.

A few examples of what we have done together:

  1. When I came here, you had just finalized Cornerstones (strategic planning document). I did not have anything to do with its formation but I did with its implementation. I have kept it in my briefcase and take it out occasionally to see where we are with its objectives and milestones. Now we are working on the next 10 year plan with Access to Excellence, and I will carry that in my briefcase also.
  2. Acknowledged our responsibility to help the public schools. We have become a national model for much of what we do in this area and we are being copied.
    • We said we would increase the numbers of teachers we produce by 25 percent, and we have increased by 37 percent - we now produce about 15,000 teachers a year.
    • We also have worked hard to align K-12 and higher education. Alignment was a big problem when I came here. The school standards had been watered down. They had nothing to do with going to college; some of that was the universities’ fault because we had not told parents what they needed to do to prepare their children for college. So I worked with Reed Hastings (former chair of the state Board of Education) and we got this going.
    • We created a "How to Get to College" poster and have distributed close to 2 million of them so that students and their families know how to prepare for college. I was at a meeting of the College Board last week and I brought the poster with me to share with all the universities. Many are going to do something similar.
    • We also created the Early Assessment Program to give juniors an “early signal” about their college admissibility. It is in its 4th year, and students know by August of the summer before their senior year where they stand, and if they have to take Algebra I again. We also created two free online courses in math and English to help these students.
  3. Opened CSU Channel Islands. They now have twice as many students as they thought they would at this time.
  4. Appointed 15 new presidents. I am very proud of all the presidents.
  5. Developed a strong service learning and community engagement program. I am so proud of our students. We serve some of the neediest students in the state, but they give back more than anyone else does in California. Since 1999, CSU student volunteers have contributed more than 30 million hours of service. In minimum wage value, that translates to $1.3 billion.
  6. Secured from the state the historic ability to award CSU doctorates in education. Seven campuses have programs underway and three more will start next fall. California had the lowest numbers of K-12 and community college leaders with doctorates because they did not have access to programs. We are filling that need.
  7. Helping our veterans with our Troops to College program. We need to do all we can to help our young men and women who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have established veterans’ liaisons on the campuses, and established programs at Miramar Air Base and Balboa Naval Hospital. We are also working with the University of Maryland’s extension online program for veterans to secure credits for our military personnel who take these classes. There are about 100,000 who do this, and 20,000 are from California. We want to be the most friendly and helpful campus in the country to veterans.

As I said earlier, this is the best board and the best group of presidents in the country. The Association of Governing Boards (AGB) uses our board as a model for others. We work as a strong team and keep our focus on CSU students. As long as we all put students first, we will succeed.

Super Sundays:
What we also have done is reach out to our under-served communities.

In February, our presidents, trustees and other CSU officials spoke before congregations at 52 African-American churches in Northern and Southern California. We reached an estimated 80,000 families at our third annual Super Sunday event.

We talked about the importance of a college education, how to apply to a CSU and how to gain financial aid. We gave everyone our “How to Get to College” poster, and other materials that the churches’ education advisers use when counseling families about college.

These partnerships with the churches have helped contribute to a 6.5 percent increase in African American freshman enrollment systemwide. Thank you all for your participation in these important activities. They were a great success.

We are also continuing our partnership with PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education) and last year 8,000 Latina mothers graduated from the program so they can help their children get to college. And we work with our Native American and Asian students – we have to maintain our efforts with all of our under-served groups.

CSU Budget and our messages:
As you just heard Richard during the Finance Committee meeting, the CSU is facing a 10 percent cut in 2008-09 of $312.9 million. Adding in the $73 million to buy-out the student fee increase, the total proposed hit is $386 million.

We cannot afford to have this happen – it will affect access, the workforce and serving the under-served. We will be denying 10,000 students access to a college education. We closed admission at most of our campuses on March 1 because of this budget crisis.

As the CSU family, we have to overcome these challenges. We have budget forums going on at all campuses to talk about these issues. We are asking all our students, faculty, staff and our community partners to join us in convincing Sacramento legislators – at their Capitol offices and their district offices - that properly funding the CSU means a better educated workforce that boosts the economic output of this state.

Our three messages are:

  1. The proposed budget cuts will impact student access to the California State University since not all qualified students will be admitted
  2. As the major supplier of graduates into the state’s workforce, budget cuts to the CSU will have an impact on key industries in California
  3. The proposed budget cuts will impact the long term prospects of increasing college-going rates of underserved communities in California.

All of us need to repeat these messages over and over again. We get 2 points for saying them in Sacramento and 10 points for saying them at home in their districts.

Two final items:
I wanted to mention that Don Wallace recently passed away. The Wallace Room is named for him. He was a member of the CSU Headquarters Building Authority for 40 years and a great supporter of the CSU. Richard (West) represented the CSU at Don’s funeral.

And on the lighter side, if you are into basketball and watch the NCAA tournaments, look for the mascot commercial done by NASULGC (National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges) and Anheuser-Busch for its "Celebrate Responsibly" campaign.

They are re-running the one they filmed last year at the CSU Long Beach Walter Pyramid that features six CSU mascots among the 14 mascots. The ads are scheduled to run between March 20 –27 at different times.

The six CSU campus mascots are:

  • Fresno State Bulldog
  • Cal State Fullerton Elephant
  • Cal State L.A. Golden Eagle
  • Cal State Long Beach Prospector Pete
  • Cal State Northridge Matador
  • Cal Poly Pomona Billy Bronco

Chair Achtenberg that concludes my report. Thank you.