California State University students, faculty and staff expressed their thoughts and recommendations for a new CSU chancellor at the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach.
The Implementation Committee for the Selection of the Chancellor held an open forum where people from different CSUs can participate in-person or online to speak on behalf of their campus about what they expect from a new chancellor.
Retired sociology professor David Lopez of California State University, Northridge was the first to speak in-person to the committee and heard one of his colleagues refer to the CSU as nothing but a “glorified community college.”
“The bloated administration, in personnel, in the CSU campuses, take away from resources for both students and faculty,” Lopez said. “We’re getting students that are very ill prepared for academic rigors at the university. My experience has been [that] many students have been unable to read and/or write beyond a tenth or eleventh grade level and they expect us to make them ready for graduation.”
A majority of the speakers at the forum called for the potential chancellor to recognize the diversity and inclusion in campuses and that students deserve to be heard despite whatever problems they endure. They also demanded faculty be given better salaries and recognition for their hard work.
The Associated Students, Inc President for California State University, Dominguez Hills and cyber security major Obioha Ogbonna says that diversity shouldn’t be the first thing in mind when choosing a new chancellor.
“As a Black man, respectfully, we don’t want any diversity hires. We want people that are adequately competent for this job and we don’t want anybody to be hired based on certain qualities,” Ogbonna said. “We need people who can solve problems from the students.”
As of 2023, around 50% of college undergraduates that drop out are between 35 and 64 years of age in California, according to Education Data Initiative.
“The ones who manage to stay are having housing and security [problems]. Hardly a place to live. Basic needs, food is a problem, even security is a problem on some campuses, I think LA has a lot of security issues too,” Ogbonna said. “I want a chance to, at least, be able to address these issues and make CSU sustainable for the next 20 to 30 years.”
After the committee has gathered all comments from all CSUs in Long Beach, they’re heading over to Bakersfield on Feb. 8 and San Francisco on Feb. 9 to hear more comments from CSUs in those areas.
By the end of the forum, the committee will come up with a Leadership Profile of all the requirements and attributes needed to assist in searching for a proper candidate to be the chancellor of CSU.
“That’s going to help us identify that individual who is the chancellor,” Senior Director of Public Affairs Michael Uhlenkamp said. “So it’ll be very clear at that point, both what our community seeks in the next chancellor, but also speaks to the candidates about the qualities that we’re looking for.”