Chancellor chances by Chico
Charles Reed, chancellor of the California State University system, paid a visit to Chico State University on Nov. 6, meeting with administrators, faculty members, students, and—for about 15 minutes—the Chico News & Review.
“CSU, Chico has really improved in the last 10 years,” Reed said. “People nationally know about Chico.” And it’s not because of the party school reputation, said Reed, who isn’t bothered by the reference. He came from Florida, and when it comes to getting rowdy, “I think they used to outdo Chico.”
Reed said Chico must sit tight and trust that a suitable replacement will be found for retiring President Manuel Esteban. Waiting until presidents are hired at Pomona and Sac State, Reed said, makes sense. “This institution was very stable, there were no problems, they have good senior leadership.”
He said that even though it’s the CSU Board of Trustees and he himself who will make the final decision on whom to hire, an advisory committee has a big say. “There will be a consensus,” Reed said, adding that people he spoke with on campus “have asked me to find a clone [of Esteban].”
Asked about the controversial Central Management System (CMS) software the CSU has ordered each campus to adopt, Reed said the move was nonnegotiable. “We [didn’t] have 21st century technology,” he said. People who oppose CMS either don’t like change or “felt that we could take a dollar and put that into compensation.”
Speaking of compensation, Reed said the 1.68 percent raise coming to administrators later this year still doesn’t bring their salaries anywhere near those of comparable leaders in private industry. Soon, he predicted, the CSU will start losing its best to higher-paying colleges.
Reed said he doesn’t anticipate a systemwide student fee increase next year. But one thing he’s pushing is to have campuses save money by using their facilities more. “I’m trying to get all of the CSUs to operate year-round,” he said. Enrollment caps, as well as the forced early declaration of a major as at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, worry Reed, who believes in the CSU’s mission of accessibility to all. But this year, 18,000 more students entered the system, and, “that’s about the size of Chico [State].”
He is excited that Proposition 47 passed Nov. 5, which will bring $34 million to Chico State, most noticeably building the student and business services structure. “It would have been a train wreck if we hadn’t had Prop. 47.”
Reed said he likes to get out of the CSU’s Long Beach headquarters and visit the system’s 23 campuses, trying to hit each one every year and one-half. “You’re out where students are [and] faculty and staff. You just see real people.”
Reed himself seemed quite formal and all business, but he did have little frogs on pool ladders decorating his tie.