As a CSUN alumnus, I remember being a student under former President Blenda Wilson’s administration. Prior to transferring to CSUN, I was a student at CSU, Sacramento, under then Provost Jolene Koester. Many students at CSUN now don’t remember this campus the way it was just following the earthquake of 1994. It was a time of chaos and turmoil. The campus was in ruin, recovery villages and mud soaked trailers served as our classes. There were purported financial irregularities (some proven, some rumor), and overall distrust in the Blenda Wilson administration targeting a few senior members.
I became a Matador in the fall of 1995, and 4 years later, we had a new President in Jolene Koester. President Koester came on board, and this campus is better for it. She’s the president of a major metropolitan university with a population of 34,000 students, and providing about 12,000 jobs. I would equate that with being the mayor of a small city, responsible for the health and well-being of all her citizens. It’s an exhausting endeavor, and I believe President Koester provides the greatest effort and capability to run this mini-city. Her salary increase is commensurate with the evaluation of her duties and execution of her responsibilities. In short, CSUN has become a better institution under her stewardship.
I served on a number of boards during my undergraduate and graduate tenure at CSUN, including A.S., Inc., plus a variety of committees within Student Affairs. I was an advocate for students, and a resource for administrators to reach the students. Thus, I was privy to the backstage workings that made CSUN what it is today. I have my diplomas on my wall in my office and a CSUN alumni frame on my license plate. I’m proud of what President Koester has done for our community. Being that I live in a condo around the corner from University Hall (President Koester’s office), I regularly take Etiwanda Avenue south to get to Nordhoff Street. On any given night, I will see President Koester leaving her office long after the lights have been turned off, the sun has set and the majority of students have gone home. Next time you wish to criticize someone for receiving a salary increase for their excellent service to this mini-city, try doing her job for one week and see how well you do or how long you last.
Warmest Regards, Elizabeth “Liz” Peisner, M.P.A. (CSUN: B.A. 2001, M.P.A. 2004)
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