This week, finalists for the vice president of student affairs position will be hosting open forums on campus to present their campaign pitches and connect with the student body they will be serving.
Beth Lesen from Sacramento State University, Mary Ann Takemoto from Long Beach State and Lea Jarnagin from the California State University Office of the Chancellor have been selected as the three finalists.
President Jane Close Conoley has a few suggestions for the candidates.
“My suggestion to the candidates is to get to know us before coming for the interview,” Conoley said. “The Beach is a special place with fabulous students, faculty and staff.”
The VPSA oversees all student programs and student-related matters, such as the school’s budget and program success. The position reports directly to Conoley but is expected to work closely with other campus leaders like the provost and the deans of all departments.
Takemoto is serving as the Interim VPSA because her predecessor, Carmen Taylor, was terminated following alleged misconduct while on the job in fall 2018.
According to sources that contacted the Daily Forty-Niner, Taylor had a romantic relationship with former CSULB employee Jamie Williams.
Williams allegedly came to campus looking for Taylor. When he was unable to locate her, he left campus, and allegedly shot and killed his father, stepsister and injured his stepmother. He is currently being held at the Los Angeles County prison without bail.
Following the incident, the details of Taylor and Williams’ relationship came to light and the former VPSA was placed on administrative leave.
Taylor was ultimately fired on the basis of inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, which she argues was discriminatory. No resolution to her case has been reached.
Forums will begin Wednesday, Jan. 29 and conclude Friday, Jan. 31. Each candidate will start their day by meeting with the Search Advisory Committee and the Division of Student Affairs’ management team. Candidates will then meet in open forums with students, faculty and staff and community members, respectively.
“I am looking for someone who will be a visionary in providing new strategies for students’ success and who is a great team member with the other vice presidents and with many other entities on campus, for example, the faculty and the police,” Conoley said.