The first public forum for the California State University chancellor selection process was held in Long Beach today.
The process to choose a new chancellor has been drastically changed for the selection of outgoing chancellor Charles Reed’s replacement by including public opinion in the decision making process.
Public opinion was not considered 14 years ago when Reed was appointed.
Before the meeting began, student trustee Jillian Ruddell said, “Today (the selection committee) is very interested in the student’s opinions.” The board is more focused on doing what is best for the students, she added.
This is the first time in CSU history a chancellor selection committee has included faculty and student voting members.
“(This) is a good step forward, absolutely,” said Susan Green, Treasurer of the California Faculty Association.
California State Student Association was represented at the meeting by a large contingent of AS representatives from across the CSU system.
CSUN’s incoming president, Sydni Powell, said the main focus of the CSSA, is accessibility and affordability for students on campuses throughout the CSU system. CSSA was officially represented at the forum by its president, David Allison.
The student association is stressing the requirement that the new chancellor have relevant experience in higher education, said Allison.
Public speakers at the forum commonly addressed three main points.
“I want to focus on three things, affordability, accessibility, and accountability,” said AS president at California State University, Los Angeles, Hector Escobar.
Escobar wants to ensure affordable classes for students, access to funding and services, and the accountability of the next chancellor’s actions during their term.
Many of the speakers pointed out the fiscal responsibilities they expect from the new chancellor, saying they wanted the next chancellor to focus on putting money towards student and faculty needs.
“We need a chancellor who can listen and learn, and finally says ‘no more budget cuts,’” said Patrick Choi, Academic Professionals of California council member at large.
Transparency was a major expectation clearly set by both students and faculty during the public forum.
“We need a chancellor who is willing to be transparent,” said Hector Jacinto, AS vice president at CSLA.
According to a survey conducted by the faculty association, 82.3 percent of the 1,431 the individuals polled in early June said they felt it was extremely important that the next chancellor is dedicated to transparency within the CSU system.
“I hope they adopt a process, that we get to see a final list of candidates, and that those people present themselves to us,” said Green. “It’s the very least that you expect in the hiring a faculty member or staff. Even the top person. Shouldn’t we expect that?”.
Edgar Ramos, CSUN student, said he wanted a chancellor who was going to help the students he or she will work for.
“We want someone who will fight with us,” said Ramos. He added, he doesn’t want a chancellor that would hear the students cry for help and then send them to fight the battle with the state alone.
The selection committee, chaired by trustee William Hauck, includes CSU trustees, Roberta Achtenberg, Bernadette Cheyne, Debra S. Farar, Kenneth Fong, Steven M. Glazer, Jillian L. Ruddell, Bob Linscheid, CSU Board chair ex officio.
“We don’t simply need an administrator in the incoming chancellor, we also need an advocate,” said Jarret Lovell, associate professor CSU Fullerton. “An administrator can get by rearranging the deckchairs on the capsizing CSU, or simply attempting to keep the system afloat. An advocate is one who successfully steers the CSU out of troubled waters without throwing students, staff, faculty and the public over board.”