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Remarks by Dr. Joseph I. Castro - May 19, 2021

Remarks by Dr. Joseph I. Castro
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
Chancellor’s Report (as delivered)
Long Beach, CA
May 19, 2021

 

Before I begin my remarks, it is my duty under the Education Code to report to you approved changes in admission practices before those changes can be enacted.

All campuses have complied with the provisions of the Education Code that require a series of public hearings and public disclosure in advance of submitting their final program impaction requests and have been approved to implement these changes in admission practices for the 2022-23 academic year.

Through the annual impaction review process, three campuses have updated impaction for academic programs for the 2022-2023 academic year. The following changes have been approved:

  • Humboldt State: Discontinue impaction for wildlife;
  • Cal Poly Pomona: Institute impaction for psychology and sociology for transfers only; discontinue impaction for music – music industry option; and at
  • Sonoma State: Discontinue impaction for biology, business administration, communications and liberal studies.

The following campuses provided justification and received permission to update supplementary admission criteria for colleges and academic programs beginning with the fall 2022 term:

  • Cal State Long Beach: College of Business, computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering, criminology and criminal justice, health science: community health education, health science: school health education, dance science; and at
  • San Diego State: advertising, biology, hotel operations and management, journalism, microbiology, public health, public relations, recreation and tourism management: emphasis in sustainable tourism management.

Now to my report…

I want to begin by again congratulating Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval on being appointed the ninth president of Fresno State University, after serving so adeptly in an interim capacity since January. As the CSU’s Chancellor, I am equally committed to the success of each of our 23 campuses. But – as the campus’s immediate past president and with deep familial roots in the Central Valley – it will surprise no one when I say that Fresno will always hold a special place in my heart. You know the old adage:“You can take the Chancellor out of Fresno, but you can’t take the Fresno out of the Chancellor.” So I am thrilled to see that Fresno State is in such capable, compassionate and dedicated hands. Congratulations once more, President Jiménez-Sandoval.

As part of my commitment to the success of each CSU campus, I am in the midst of a systemwide virtual – at least for now – tour. At our last meeting, I shared how impressed I was with my visits to Dominguez Hills, San Bernardino and Los Angeles.

Since that time, I have had the privilege of visiting Humboldt State, Cal Maritime and San Jose State. I want to thank each campus for hosting me. It’s been an invaluable and extraordinarily enjoyable experience to meet all the constituencies in your extended campus communities and to hear about your proud history, your remarkable achievements and impressive points of pride, your concerns, the challenges you face and your plans for a bright future.

Visiting Humboldt, I was swept up by the undeniable energy and sense of excitement as the campus reimagines its future and explores the possibility of becoming a polytechnic. It’s a campus that is building on its great strengths and rich past as it creatively looks toward fulfilling its boundless promise. And our partners in Sacramento have shown a similar excitement at Humboldt’s potential to meet some of the state’s emerging needs in the STEM fields.

Visiting Cal Maritime, I was impressed to meet quite a few cadets. Of course, all their stories are unique, but each one exuded such remarkable leadership qualities: a sense of duty and responsibility, respect, humility, composure and honor. But while it’s clear they take great (and rightful) pride in the unique nature of their school and are appreciative of and excited by Maritime’s extraordinary job-placement success, I was moved to hear several say that they also were proud of the fact they are part of the larger Cal State system, one that stands for inclusion and a commitment to diversity and equity. One cadet shared that he had come out during his college experience and that during this time he was comforted and reassured by the fact that he and Cal Maritime belong to a larger university that welcomes, embraces and supports students from every background, identity and orientation. Indeed, that’s something that should comfort and reassure us all.

And visiting San Jose State, the theme that kept surfacing in my meetings was “innovation”: in academic programming, student-support initiatives, research, community partnerships and every aspect of campus operations. Perhaps innovation is just in the air in Silicon Valley. And speaking of Silicon Valley, I was very impressed to learn of the extent to which San Jose graduates comprise the essential human capital powering the region’s tech giants. 2,000 Spartans work at Apple alone! And there are similarly impressive employment numbers or innovative campus partnerships at Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Google, Adobe Systems, LinkedIn and many others. San Jose State is indeed an integral component of this iconic hub of innovation.

Thanks again to everyone at the campuses and at the CO for organizing these visits – I look forward to 17 more!

I will close my report this morning by addressing – directly and with the clearest possible language – an issue of great significance and importance to the entire Cal State community: ensuring that our campus policing – in policy and in action – reflects the core values of our great university.

Police perform a vital and necessary function in our society: promoting public safety and enforcing our laws so that we may all enjoy our most treasured individual freedoms. Police officers from all backgrounds often perform this function ably, even heroically.

But our hearts break at regular reports of abusive police behavior from across our nation, reports that are seemingly increasing in frequency and that range from verbal slurs and acts of intimidation to brutality and violence. And, indeed, murder.

Too often, the individuals suffering these abusive acts are people of color and of marginalized identities. And we must acknowledge as fact that such acts are often directly linked to and the result of systemic bias and racism that has plagued American institutions – including its police forces – for generations.

Violence and racism are utterly abhorrent to the core values of the California State University, which include inclusive excellence, equity in all its dimensions, fundamental fairness of opportunity, and fostering personal and intellectual growth and fulfillment.

The CSU is committed to ensuring that our university police departments across our 23 campuses reflect these values as they perform the essential function of protecting the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and guests while contributing to an environment where talented and diverse students feel not only safe, but welcomed, valued and heard – an environment that allows them to thrive personally and academically.

The CSU will not defund, disarm or dissolve our police departments. I believe the better path forward is to do the hard work – together – to ensure that critical police services are performed in a manner that is consistent with our shared values. I am pleased to report that, in just the last 12 months, our university police departments have taken important steps in this regard:

  • Body-worn cameras have been implemented on all campuses to enhance transparency and accountability;
  • A series of systemwide policies – including a “Use of Force” policy – have been developed, to which all university police departments must adhere; and
  • All CSU police officers have completed de-escalation training certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. The CSU is one of the first state agencies to have all members complete this training.

While this represents critical and significant progress, our next step in this effort is, I believe, even more consequential. The campus presidents and I have agreed to require the formation of police advisory committees at each of our 23 campuses. I welcome and encourage students, faculty and staff to actively participate in these important and inclusive campus discussions, where free and open discussion and debate will lead to recommendations at each campus that are carefully crafted to respond to local needs and concerns.

I am proud of the successes we have made together to address educational outcome disparities – another tragic consequence of generational systemic inequities – as part of the Graduation Initiative 2025. I am confident that, by working together, we can similarly overcome longstanding challenges associated with campus policing in a manner that upholds the California State University’s most cherished values.

Chair Kimbell, that concludes my report.