By CHRISTIAN ARREDONDO & ELIZABETH AQUINO
The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees came on campus Nov. 22 to host an open forum as part of its statewide search process for a new chancellor to succeed current CSU chancellor, Timothy P. White.
In October, White announced his plan to retire in 2020. The Board of Trustees is aiming to complete the interview process in March and announce White’s replacement by July 2020.
The forum, held in the Student Services Building’s multipurpose room, was the third of six forums across the CSU-wide search tour. It was open to all members of the campus community, with students and faculty of various CSUs attending the forum.
Micah Parker, vice president of CPP’s Black Student Union and a member of Associated Student Inc (ASI)’s Board of Directors, hopes the CSU Board of Trustees finds a chancellor who will actively commit to supporting diversity among the 23 CSU campuses.
“When I say diversity, I mean more than just pictures on a brochure or statistics to brag about,” Parker said at the forum. “I need a chancellor who is actually committed to students who are underrepresented and constantly ignored and silenced within the various CSU systems.”
Parker also told the Board of Trustees that she spoke with other Black Student Union presidents of various CSU schools, who agreed the issue is prevalent at every campus.
“These are issues that affect all of us,” she said. “We need a chancellor who is willing to take an active role to be an ally and not just say that they claim diversity and inclusion for show, but actually come(s) and listens to the needs of students and talks to (them).”
Most of the issues brought up by community members touched on inclusion among the CSU system schools.
Samantha Fidel, a fourth-year political science student and ASI cabinet member, spoke about the importance of students feeling welcomed on every CSU campus.
“I do get broken-hearted when I hear the experiences of students who do not feel welcomed on this campus,” Fidel said. “With a new chancellor, we should push for diversity and inclusion, making sure there is training for staff and admin so the students feel welcomed on campus.”
Fidel mentioned that the lack of understanding from faculty and staff can discourage students from pursuing their education. She also hopes the prospective chancellor will understand the struggles low-income students face.
Accessibility was another concern brought up at the forum. Catherine Whittaker, executive director of accessible technology, would like to see a chancellor who will seek advancements in technology for disabled members of campus.
“I also would like to see a chancellor (who) understands and promotes accessible digital web technologies,” Whittaker said.
She believes the CSU system could benefit from electing a chancellor who understands both physical and mental barriers affecting students.
“A chancellor who understands and promotes accessibility will strengthen diversity inclusion and innovation for the CSU system,” she said.
The Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet at Cal State San Marcos Dec. 3 for the fourth stop of the CSU-wide chancellor search tour.
The open forums are live-streamed and can be viewed on the CSU website at https://www2.calstate.edu/Pages/livestream.aspx.
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