Chancellor discusses plans for CSU budget

by Stephanie Saccente

Paige Nelson, Photo Editor
Paige Nelson, Photo Editor

California State University Chancellor Timothy White visited San Diego State on Wednesday to host an open forum for all members of the campus community. White discussed his plans to increase enrollment rates, staff and faculty salaries and undergraduate success.

White said staff members haven’t received salary increases since 2007 and the faculty hasn’t had an increase since 2008. He said during this time of stagnant salaries, several thousands of university students have been added to schools with 7 percent fewer employees compared to six years ago. White said the current success rate in the CSU system is measured by graduation rates. Even with current circumstances, graduation rates have increased.

“We have less people, more students, greater success, flat salaries and less money,” White said during the forum. “There are those out there who like to say we’re not doing our job … There’s an inconvenient truth of the facts against those assertions.”

White plans to use the $125 million Gov. Jerry Brown proposed to keep the CSU system moving in a positive direction. If the budget holds, White said he would like to take the new resources and invest them in three areas: people, programs and purpose.

White plans to reserve $38 to $40 million and create a modest salary plan for faculty and staff.
“It’s not a lot of money for any given individual, but it is certainly my way of saying, good for you, good for us and let’s continue to work hard so we can get more investments and be able to do more on the salary side,” White said.

White said money will be set aside to increase enrollment at SDSU and the other 22 CSU campuses. White said $8 to $9 million will also be used for competitions geared toward student success initiatives. Campuses that don’t see significant growth will be able to compete for those resources and show how they plan to enhance student success.

He also said it’s important for students to develop and hone their skills by pursuing opportunities that will better prepare them for future careers. With the recent celebration of The Daily Aztec’s centennial birthday, White emphasized the importance of having student newspapers in the CSU.
“I’ve always loved the campus paper … It’s the student voice, the student lens on the perception of what’s happening academically and financially on campus and in the community,” White said. “Sometimes students, student writers, student editors and student beat writers will see things that an older lens, if you will, wouldn’t see; and so I’ve always embraced that idea of student newspapers and their importance.”

White also emphasized that students seek experimental opportunities to prepare for their careers.

“You need great committed people in order to do great, committed things for California’s future,” White said.

He added students should be able to live, work and prosper in a global community after graduation. He encouraged students to take advantage of the community at SDSU to create successful futures.
“The things we study and think about and learn here are enhanced when there is a variety of perspectives around that debate, and that, to me, is a distinction of a great university,” White said.