Remember the adage "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me"? Whenever a public University runs a secret search for a new President, it ends in a disastrous hiring that undermines the reputation and functioning of the campus, to the detriment of students and taxpayers. Having just seen its President take advantage of a secret search to flee for another State while he was under investigation for alleged financial and other improprieties, California State University Long Beach has proposed a secret search for the next President, set to begin in September. We must petition the powers-that-be for a transparent, public search in which faculty and students and taxpayers participate, and for a new President who embraces the planks of a platform that will refund past tuition overcharges, lower present tuition and fees, and re-focus the campus to providing excellent education from quality teachers. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it's not. At present, the CSULB administration's primary focus is expanding the administration at the expense of education, all while increasing tuition and fees in order to pay administrators and cover up administrative scandal. We must tell the powers-that-be that we are not going to take this anymore! Please read and then sign our petition. Change can be immediate. The time is now. The Governor and the Chancellor are listening.
- California Governor
Governor Jerry Brown
- CSU Chancellor
- Chair CSU Board of Trustees
In order to restore the credibility and success of the California State University system -- the largest university system in the world -- insuring that it (i) lives up to its mission of providing quality education at an affordable price, (ii) uses its taxpayer funding in an honest and frugal manner which upholds the public trust, and (iii) sets an example that all public education in all States may follow, we hereby call upon CSU Chancellor Timothy White, the CSU Board of Trustees (through its Chair, Bob Linscheid), and California Governor Jerry Brown and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.
Beginning in September 2013, the California State University Long Beach campus is conducting a search for a new President. We petition that the search process and the candidates adhere to these precepts:
1. All phases of the search are to be conducted openly, with application materials and statements by the candidates posted publicly on-line, and interviews and discussions set in public forums attended by faculty and students. (Otherwise, the CSU's present plan is for a secret search.)
2. All candidates' curricula vitae and claims for credit are to be fully and professionally vetted and reported on during the first phase of the process so that dishonest candidates are eliminated immediately. (Otherwise, the CSU's present plan is for the CSU not to vet any candidate until they have been reduced to two or three finalists.)
3. The search committee, the Chancellor, and the Board of Trustees will establish an on-line voting portal for the public to offer their opinions on the candidates and recommendations for selection of the new President. (Otherwise, the CSU has no plans whatsoever for the recognition or consideration of public opinion.)
4. The new President will agree to accept a total compensation package of no more than the highest salary paid to a professor/chair on campus (as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement), plus 20%. (Otherwise the President would be getting more than three times this amount, plus vast perks and housing!)
5. The new President will not be allowed to accept compensation for serving on local corporate boards. (Otherwise, CSULB Presidents wind up with cash and stock from corporations lobbying them for favors.)
6. The new President will agree to cut the cost of the administration by two-thirds, bringing it back to levels that existed before the previous President bloated it. These cuts will include reductions in administrative salary and benefits, and the elimination of redundant administrative jobs. These cuts will begin immediately, and will be completed within no more than two years. The only reason for this delay is that the present administration has already doled out three year guaranteed crony deals, but the new President will make best efforts to negotiate buy-outs of these deals ahead of their natural expiration. (Thanks to administrative greed, the recent bloat has raised the cost of administration to a number as high as the actual cost of education. This can and must be reversed immediately. You may think a two-thirds cut seems impossible, but it's not. EXAMPLE: CSULB used to have a single Provost. Now it suddenly has a Provost and TWO Vice Provosts. Three people doing the same job that one used to do just fine. And triple the support staff to cover the triple Provosts. And raises in salary for all to private sector market rate even though this is a public institution. The entire administration has been geometrically bloated this way as the previous President took the position that "in times of recession, there need to be more and higher-paid administrators to figure out how to make do with less." The new President can cut this easily. Other CSU campuses do not have this bloat!)
7. The new President will refund a portion of tuition paid by all students since Fall 2008 when the previous and current leadership were misdirecting funds to cover up their lies about the phony Bob Cole scholarship donation.
8. The new President will order that all administrators are to be reviewed annually by independent reviewers, and personnel action will be taken for failures of performance. (Otherwise these jobs have become lifetime jobs, regardless of performance.)
9. The new President will immediately cancel all campus-specific fees charged to students, including but not limited to the "student excellence fees". (The latter are fees invented by the last President and the current Interim President to pay for sports publicity and to cover up discretionary misspending by the school's top administrators. These fees had nothing to do with "excellence" or with students. These fees can go away.)
10. The new President will petition the Board of Trustees to reduce tuition. In the meantime and immediately, as CSULB administrative costs are cut by the new President, corresponding amounts of tuition will be refunded to all students. Within two years, this will lead to a two-thirds reduction in tuition from present levels. (This is an obvious dollar-for-dollar exchange. Cut spending, cut tuition. Legally, these refunds will come as either rebates or scholarships until such time as the Board of Trustees approves a system-wide reduction. Either way, students at CSULB will have their "net" tuition dramatically reduced immediately.)
11. The new President will see to it that all courses and course sections are analyzed for parsing or combination to maximize student contact with faculty while simultaneously reducing individual faculty workloads. (There have been many successful models of this on campus in the past, but the present administration has eschewed them. The CSU must stand for innovation and success in the education of its students while providing an energized and inspiring environment for its faculty to teach and to strive for scholarly accomplishments.)
12. The new President will order all fundraising and donations from the last ten years to be independently audited, and then a long-term investment strategy determined. All assets will be reviewed for potential encumbrance, sale, or development in order to generate revenue to help re-build and expand facilities. (The present audit reports are proven fictions. The campus must learn the truth of what funds and endowments it really has before any plan can be devised to increase net worth and improve facilities.)
13. The new President will order all discretionary funds from the last ten years to be independently audited, and legal or personnel action taken as appropriate. (For many years, the President, the Provost, and the Deans have all re-routed money into discretionary funds under their control with no oversight. It is high time for accountability.)
14. The new President will order that all requests for documents under the Public Records Act are honored, and honored in haste. The University will not stall nor claim phony excuses to evade handing over documents. The default position will be that ALL documents other than those specifically protected by California State law will be handed over. Anyone doing business with the University should be informed in advance that documents will not be kept confidential. (The California Legislature has repeatedly crafted laws of disclosure for State businesses like the CSU, while carefully protecting individuals' rights. But the last President and the current Interim President have chosen not to follow these laws. That needs to change.)
15. The new President will re-open all whistleblower claims and complaints of retaliation from the last ten years, and will have independent investigators examine the files and the underlying cases, with appropriate legal and personnel action taken. (The whistleblower retaliation complaint process under the recent administration has ranged from a whitewash to an excuse for further retaliation. The clock needs to be turned back and equitable relief accorded.)
16. The new President shall not be a crook, a con artist, a tax cheat, or a liar. The new President's contract must contain strong language against behavior constituting moral turpitude, and any breach should immediately result in termination of employment. (Certain aspects of this exist in all contracts and under the law, but it needs to be strengthened. CSULB's experience with its last President and its current Interim President are cases in point.)
I believe in the foregoing statements of principle and process, and I am showing my faith by signing this petition to let the authorities know that I am willing to stand up for students, for teachers, for public education, and for the future of this country. STARTING WITH CSULB, SAVE OUR PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES!
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