Renovations to President Harrison’s office and home cost over $350,000

Melissa Simon

CSUN's new president Diane Harrison stands in front of the Student Recreation Center during her campus visit on March 27. Along with the cost of bringing in a new president, new expenses have been established. Photo credit: Mariela Molina / Photo Editor

In the midst of faculty protests and enrollment freezes, CSUN has brought in Diane Harrison as its new president.

Along with the cost of bringing in a new president, new expenses have been established. Potential costs include office renovations, salaries for new staff, welcoming events and moving costs.

Carmen Ramos Chandler, director of news and information for CSUN, said that renovations for the office of the president are costing state funding  $243,292.

“The decision to renovate the office was made many years ago and it could not be done before because the office is so busy,” Chandler said. “We decided to take advantage of the vacancy between presidents and do the renovations.”

Since the office of the president belongs to Harrison as well as her staff, the majority of the work  being done is to improve the staff cubicles. By fixing the cubicles, privacy issues are being addressed, Chandler said.

“Because the cubicles have short walls, you can technically hear conversations between cubicles,” she said.

Other major renovations include updates to the university house, which is owned by the University Corporation, according to Chandler.

“The house is pretty old and needs more than just regular maintenance,” she said. “The kitchen and bathroom are going to be improved and it will cost approximately $115,000.”

Housing renovations come from the University Corporation, who owns the house.

Chandler stated that Harrison made none of these requests. However, the improvements were necessary since the university house is also used for any events that need the prestige of being at the president’s house.

With so much being spent on just renovations, one may wonder how Harrison’s salary will factor into all of this.

Michael Uhlenkamp, director of media relations and new media for the CSU, said that president Harrison’s salary has not yet been established.

“It (her salary) will most likely be taken up by the board of trustees at the July meeting and will be compliant with the policy established May 8,” Uhlenkamp said.

The policy that Uhlenkamp is referring to is the one stating the criteria for a CSU president. Salary is based on location, enrollment, budget, percentage of students receiving Pell grants, six-year graduation rates and research funding, among other things, according to the policy,

“Based on the parameters established in the new policy, her compensation would not be more than $295,000 in state funding, and if it is determined that she is to receive a supplement from campus foundation sources, it would not be more than 10 percent of the amount she will receive in state funding,” Uhlenkamp said.

Harrison’s expenses in moving to CSUN are being covered the same way any other faculty or staff’s would be, according to Chandler.

“We follow the policy set out by the CSU,” she said.

In addition to moving costs, there will be additional costs for welcome events. According to Chandler, Harrison does not want to have an elaborate inauguration celebration, but would rather do something as an additional part of an existing event.

“She (Harrison) does not like to spend needlessly,” Chandler said. “We do not have any further events planned other than meet and greets, which will be paid for mostly by donors.”

The welcome event for Harrison on March 27 cost nearly $6,800, which covered all costs for food, the stage, banners, chairs, etc., according to Chandler.

“All services provided were handled in-house, which means we paid our own people (on campus) to do the work so the money went back into our pockets,” Chandler said.

President Harrison will officially begin her tenure on June 11.