Observing the 50th Anniversary of the CSU as a System and Preserving the History of the CSU and of Each CSU Campus

AS-2684-05/EX - January 20-21, 2005

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU) request that the Chancellor and Board of Trustees plan for and carry out an appropriate observation of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the CSU as a system; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU encourage every campus academic senate and every campus president to plan for and carry out an appropriate observation of the 5Oth anniversary of the creation of the CSU as a system; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU encourage every campus academic senate and every campus president to create and maintain a historical archive on campus, as a way to preserve the records that will be necessary for the scholarly study of the historical development and current character of the campus as well as for purposes related to campus planning, publicity, and fundraising; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU request that the Chancellor and Board of Trustees take action to improve the intellectual access, physical facilities, and support budget for the CSU historical archives, and also to support the timely transfer of CSU records to the archives.

RATIONALE: The California State University system was created, as the California State Colleges system, by the Donahoe Act in 1960, with the formal inauguration of the system in 1961. The 50th anniversary of the system will, therefore, come in 2010-11.

The CSU is the largest system of higher education in the United States, now comprising 23 campuses, more than 440,000 students, and some 23,000 faculty members. The history of the CSU and its individual campuses is important for understanding the development of higher education in California and also in other parts of the nation. The history of the CSU is of interest to historians and a variety of other scholars studying the role of higher education in the nation, as well as in the nation's most populous state.

Although the California State University system dates to 1961, the CSU Archives were not created until 1979, and the actual collection and transfer of records began only in 1981. Information about the CSU Archives is available online at http://wwwcsudhedu/archives/csu/. Located in the library at CSU Dominguez Hills, the Archives have never been well funded, and their important mission of preserving system records and making them available to researchers has been hampered by lack of adequate funding. However, efforts to raise funds for the Archives from private foundations and federal agencies have sometimes run afoul of an assumption that a system as big as the CSU should be capable of funding its own archives. The approach of the 50th anniversary of the CSU as a system might provide an opportunity for serious fundraising that would benefit both the CSU Archives and the larger purpose of preserving and maintaining source materials for the scholarly study of the CSU and its individual campuses.

Not all campuses have established their own historical archives. Under ideal circumstances, each campus should have a person designated as responsible for the university's historical archives and also a person (not the same person) designated as responsible for records management, should have an advisory board that includes a majority of faculty members, and should have adequate funding and adequate space for the preservation and maintenance of those records important for an understanding of the development of the campus. Those records might include student newspapers and student yearbooks, photographs of the campus throughout its history, artifacts, records of major campus activities and projects, and selected files of university administrators and offices, the academic senate, the student government, the alumni, and other organizations.

A well-developed university historical archive is likely to be of value not only for the scholarly study of the development and current state of each campus and of the system but also as an important source of information for a variety of other purposes, including campus planning and publicity for campus development activities. Also for CSU campuses that are older than the CSU, an archive helps preserve the history of California and public higher education. Alumni organizations and retired faculty members, especially, might be encouraged to take active parts in the development and funding of the historical archives.

APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY - March 10-11, 2005


 
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