CSU Chancellor visits CSUSM on innovation tour

Chancellor addressed campus concerns, visits research labs


CSU Chancellor Timothy White poses with Student-Athlete Advisory Council on Monday, April 25 at the new Sports Center.

Jasmine Demers , Managing Editor

CSU Chancellor Timothy White recently visited CSUSM where he toured the campus and engaged with students, faculty and staff in an open forum.

Chancellor White’s visit to CSUSM on Monday, April 25 was motivated by his classroom innovation tour of the CSU’s 23 campus system.

“I focused this year on finding innovation in the learning space. I wanted to sit down with faculty, staff, and students [to talk] about what they are doing,” he said.

Chancellor White met with faculty and students in the colleges across campus and learned about the specific goals and commitments of CSUSM. He visited the Diabetes Research Lab where students and faculty researchers are studying the effects of diabetes in overweight patients, the Endless Pool research center where the Kinesiology department’s surf research takes place and the new Sports Center, where he toured and met members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

During his visit, Chancellor White also attended a forum at 1 p.m., which was attended by members of the campus community, some who voiced concerns about the state of the CSU system.

Specifically, student Karen Guzmxn asked the Chancellor about the alleged prioritization of administrators over students.

If there’s a serious concern with the lack of funding for the CSU, then why was there a recent Board of Trustees meeting where a resolution passed to lift the cap off of how much CSU presidents can make, $400,000 aside from stipends and other administrative perks, while simultaneously introducing the sustainability model, which would call for an increase in student tuition, among other startling propositions,” Guzmxn asked during the forum.

Guzman also commented later about the importance of asking these questions for the well-being of students.

“To us, these actions show a lack of prioritizing on behalf the Board of Trustees. College is becoming less affordable, more students are going into debt, and housing/ food affordability is a growing issue,” she said. “Students shouldn’t be pushed out of school, while their presidents make a salary equivalent to that of the President of the United States.”

While Chancellor White did not have a direct answer to Guzmxn’s question, in a later media interview, he did mention efforts to implement food pantries and address issues of food and housing insecurities in students.

“We commissioned a three year study on food insecurity and housing instability and have spent now almost 15 months with the first round of data across the 23 campuses, and have discovered stunning numbers about how many students are [dealing with these issues],” he said

Chancellor White explained that this study reflected 11 percent of CSU students who experience housing  and 25 percent on the food side

“The reason we are focused on this is because we want our students to succeed. We have services that help them academically, we have financial aid and health centers, but if they’re sitting in their calculus class, and they’re either hungry or worried about where their next meal will come from or whether they’re going to be living that evening in a safe place or not, those are not ways in which they can focus their energy on being a successful students,” he said.

In the media interview, Chancellor White also commented on the recent agreement with the California Faculty Association regarding faculty salaries.

“I think we actually have labor peace now… and [the agreement] allows us all to work together to get the funding from Sacramento that we need to create access for students,” he said.

Chancellor White explained that the agreement requires ratification by faculty and then will be taken to the Board of Trustees in the third week of May. He also explained that they recently settled in an agreement with two other bargaining units and have two more left.

“To me this whole thing is really a symptom of the under resourcing of the CSU. At the end of the day, we don’t have enough resources or capacity to serve the expectations and needs of California. That’s why we continue to make the case in Sacramento that this is an investment, not a cost to the state,” he said.

When asked how these salary issues may be prevented in the future, Chancellor White said that they are working on plans to commission a comprehensive compensation study to include both salary and benefits of CSU employees. The data from this study, he said, will be helpful in informing future negotiations.

Chancellor White said that his visit to CSUSM went very well and was impressed at what he saw his time spent on the campus
“Students here are very focused on wanting to have a meaningful career. One of the things that I really appreciate about San Marcos on all my visits, is it is really focused on the success of students, not only to get their degree, but also to use that degree for something that’s engaging to them and also important for society.”

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California