Campus: CSU East Bay -- January 26, 2005

It's Official: CSU Trustees Vote Unanimously To Change University Name to 'Cal State East Bay'

The California State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday (Jan. 26) to change the name of Cal State Hayward to California State University, East Bay, to reflect its status as a regional university.

The board is the state's governing body for the 23-campus CSU system and its vote at 1:02 p.m. came on the recommendation of CSUH President Norma Rees, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and a trustees committee that heard proponents and opponents make presentations one day earlier.

"Of the people we heard speak on both sides of this issue I found the students to be especially articulate and passionate," said trustee Jeffrey Bleich. "I live in the East Bay, which is a well-known geographic area and has a strong and vibrant economy. This is a vote that won't create divisions, but draw groups together and make us stronger."

Trustee Melinda Guzman-Moore, who voted against the name change in committee the day before, announced she would change her vote to support the proposal after considering the arguments and deciding, "this is the best for the community and the region and will improve the profile of the city of Hayward and the university."

"We have heard everything said and read all the e-mails and letters and the personal appeals made from both sides over the past three months," said board Chair Murray Galinson. "This vote is in the best interest of the campus, but I encourage all of those who contacted us to stay aware and involved in the institution."

Student trustee Eric Guerra, representing the California State Student Association, also voted for the name change. Guerra said he hopes the CSU system will continue to see "students as assets and allies."

Applauding the decision, CSU Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell told the trustees that when he was an administrator at UC Berkeley he was aware of Cal State Hayward, "but it was clear to me at the time that it suffered from a definition that was far too narrow to describe the scope of the region it served."

After the vote, President Rees said a team would be working with campus and community constituencies "to make the change as efficient and effective as possible." Within hours of the board's vote, the university was working on posting the name on the university home page. Implementing other changes could take place over the next two years, Rees said.

On the day before the full board's vote, the trustees' Committee on Institutional Advancement voted 4-1 to endorse the name change. The decision came after an hour of presentations by proponents and opponents of the proposal. Those speaking in opposition included CSUH Associated Students Chair D. McKinney, who said more student input should have been sought, and Hayward Mayor Roberta Cooper, who said more research was necessary.

Those speaking on behalf of the name change proposal included CSUH students Krista Kohlberg and Masaho Ninoimiya, professor Julia Norton, university associate vice president James Kelly, and Oakland City Councilman Dick Spees.

Also speaking in support of the name change were Monica Pacheco and Deborah Taylor from the CSUH Alumni Association Board of Directors, which earlier voted 10-0 to endorse the proposal after 70,000 graduates were notified of the proposal in the November issue of their magazine. The alumni association board includes two former chairs of the Associated Students.

Chancellor Reed introduced the issue by noting that he had spent more than an hour in conversation with CSUH founding President Fred F. Harcleroad to understand the history behind the university's name. He said Harcleroad told him that he had proposed the name 'East Bay' before the campus opened in 1959.

"Almost half a century later," Harcleroad wrote in a letter distributed to the trustees' committee members, "the university still serves the East Bay and the proposed fifth name change provides a name that describes realistically what has always been the true geographic mission of the institution."

Rees explained to the committee that the name change proposal was an outgrowth of nearly two years of study to determine perceptions of the university from campus groups, alumni, prospective students and their parents, and community leaders throughout the East Bay. Those leaders included Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister, State Assemblymember Loni Hancock and State Senator Tom Torlakson, all who sent the chancellor letters endorsing the name change.

In a letter distributed to the board committee, Hancock wrote, "a more appropriate and inclusive name would increase regional awareness and visibility of the university and could potentially result in expanded donor support and recognition for the university's two campuses."

A theme of the proponents' presentation was that the university has been undergoing a transformation to a regional institution that a name change would reflect.

"The name change formalizes this evolution…a renaissance, if you will," Associate Vice President James Kelly told the committee. "Now is the time to declare who we are and what we stand for."

The university has campuses in Hayward and Concord, a Professional Development and Conference Center and a Small Business Development Center in Oakland, teaching centers in Richmond and Union City, a degree completion program at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, and offers its Transnational Executive MBA program in San Ramon.

Last week, ChevronTexaco made a $1 million grant to help the university support development of a Small Business Development Center in Richmond.

Speakers noted last year's accreditation of the CSUH engineering program in its first year of eligibility, selection as a "Best Western" university by The Princeton Review, and an increase of 30 percent in the number of first-time freshman as examples.

Tuesday's committee vote had board members Herbert Carter, Carol Chandler, Debra Farar and Kathleen Kaiser voting to approve the name change and trustee Melinda Guzman-Moore voting against it.

Although not a voting member of the committee, trustee George Gowgani sat in on the discussion and invited all the participants, "to come back to her in five or six years to talk about how this was the best decision ever made in connection with this campus."

President Rees announced her decision to propose a name change at the Oct. 6 meeting of the university's Academic Senate. The Senate, which includes five students as well as non-teaching staff, voted 23-20-1 to not endorse the proposal.

President Rees told members of the CSU committee that in the 110 days since her name change proposal became public the news has been widely spread in the Bay Area news media, giving students, staff, faculty, alumni and community leaders an opportunity to send reactions to her office, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and trustees. Recently, an interview with Rees on the name change was broadcast on all of Comcast Cable's Local Edition programs on the CNN Headline News channel on 24 cable systems from Santa Rosa to San Jose, reaching a potential of 2.5 million households each time it aired.

President Rees conceded that Hayward's daily newspaper, affiliated with the Alameda Newspapers Group, took an editorial position against the name change, but noted that more than a dozen newspapers covering many of the 32 other incorporated cities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties endorsed the proposal, including the Berkeley Voice, East Bay Business Times, Pleasanton Weekly, Livermore Independent, Antioch Ledger and the Contra Costa Times.

She quoted an editorial in the East Bay Business Times that said the new name would communicate that the university is "an educational powerhouse that could unify the region."

President Rees has said it will take up to two years to fully implement the name change. For example, letterhead and business cards will be replaced as existing stocks are exhausted. She promised that state money will not be used for changing signage and said donors have already come forward offering to help.

The university published a list of frequently asked questions about the issue on its news site. More information is available at the "Name Change News" link on the university's home page at

Media Contacts: Kim Huggett, Dir. of Public Affairs, (510) 885-2032, or Barry Zepel, Office of Public Affairs, (510) 885-3884

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