The California State University Board of Trustees Special Committee met Tuesday at California State University, Sacramento to consider the selection of a new chancellor.
Chancellor Timothy P. White, 70, announced his retirement at the end of October.
The open forum allowed faculty and staff of Sacramento State the opportunity to voice their opinions and hopes for a new chancellor.
Jean Picker Firstenberg, a member of the Board of Trustees, opened the event by welcoming those present to take the time to express their opinions and ideas.
“[We] encourage everyone to lend their voice to the process,” Firstenberg said.
Margarita Berta-Avila, chapter president of the California Faculty Association at Sacramento State, was the first person to speak at the open forum.
She urged the trustees to think about the students and the faculty of the CSU system when selecting the new chancellor.
“We need a chancellor who is devoted to public education [and] works tirelessly to secure funding for CSUs,” Berta-Avila said.
She added that she hopes the new chancellor will work with employees instead of against them and welcome free, oppositional speech rather than deflect it.
Christine Miller, interim vice provost for strategic services, also said she observed the common thread she saw among the faculty and staff speaking was “culture.”
“Please bring us a chancellor who understands culture,” Miller said.
Jessie Ryan, executive vice president of The Campaign for College Opportunity, also called for a chancellor who is more culturally aware and sensitive.
“The CSU system is built on being the peoples’ university, ” Ryan said. “At every level [the CSU system] should represent the students it serves.”
Ryan then went on to encourage the whole CSU to stop asking the question of whether or not students are college-ready, but ask to “are colleges student ready?”
Lorenzo Smith, Dean of the college of engineering and computer science, acknowledged White’s efforts but maintained the CSU needs someone to do more.
“At the end of the day, you know as well as I do that it’s about the people,” Smith said.
The open forum was the first of many meetings in the consideration process for a new CSU chancellor. The next meeting will be Nov. 13 at 12 p.m. at California State University, East Bay.