Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – July 19, 2017

Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting – Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
July 19, 2017


I appreciate Chair Eisen addressing the issue of global climate change… and the California State University’s leadership in sustainability.

Indeed, we face many challenging issues… issues that affect the society around us.

We cannot separate ourselves from these issues. Much the opposite… we must provide leadership on:

… how to respond to today’s struggles and conflicts…
… how to facilitate earnest debate…
… and how to improve understanding of root causes and historical bases from which controversy and conflict are often birthed.

This attribute – of university leadership – affirms again why the CSU matters…

As my first example… Cal State San Bernardino is providing leadership.

Professor Brian Levin is shining a bright light on the increase in hate crimes in the past year.

This rise in hate-related violence isn’t just happening elsewhere. Professor Levin’s research reveal disturbing trends both nationally and here in California.

Acknowledging a hard truth is a first step to addressing an issue.

A second example – emphasizing why our university matters – comes as Cal State San Marcos acknowledges the hard truth that our American Indian communities continue to be educationally underserved.

President Haynes is passionate about forging connections between the university and tribes of San Diego and Riverside County. Her passion – and that of her campus community – has led to guaranteed-admission agreements with Noli Indian School and Sherman Indian High School… signed just last month.

San Marcos has nearly a dozen other pathway agreements with historically-underserved communities across its service region.

These types of agreements are an important bridge for students – turning the distant promise of a university education into a present reality.

And as we expand opportunity, we must confront and learn from the failings – current and past – of our larger society.

In a third example of leadership…  Cal State Dominguez Hills just received a $100,000 grant to expand its effort to preserve, protect and digitize histories of Japanese Americans during the mid-20th Century… working to ensure that we neither forget nor repeat the evils of internment.

Cal State Dominguez Hills is at the intersection of many issues confronting California. In fact, the campus siting in Carson was birthed from the Watts Rebellion.

And, last month – at the roundtable mentioned by Chair Eisen – I was honored to join President Hagan and Governor Brown to talk about transportation infrastructure… and related issues of diversity, research and workforce education. The campus was a perfect setting for this conversation.

CSU scholarship is already leading to better – more sustainable – transportation policies and practices… just as CSU forums lead to better dialogue… if we allow them to… if we speak, and also listen.

And listening doesn’t mean just waiting to speak, but rather to think deeply and consider the merits of differing views.

We have many areas of agreement… like our common goal of building a modern, equitable and prosperous future for all Californians… ensuring that underserved communities still facing the discriminatory policies of the last century are part of the conversation and subsequent successes today…

Indeed, our core mission, shared by every member of the CSU community, is to provide access to hope, opportunity and success through higher education.

So… when we forge agreement… we unite in one powerful voice.

Over the last four years the CSU has been united in its work with the Governor’s Office and legislature to identify the funding needed for our campuses.

We can tend to forget the successes of the past as we get caught up in the budget discussions of the moment… but I ask that we pause for a moment and consider that success.

On one of those four years, we received the governor’s initial January proposal…

In three years, we received more than the governor’s initial proposal… including one year in which we received the trustees’ full budget request…

This is not trivial… this is what progress looks like. And while the needs of the university are great, we are making a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands, including employment opportunities for faculty and staff, let alone for students who would not have otherwise been admitted… or who may not have received financial support… or who may not have graduated without the work of CSU’s amazing advocates.

And these additional resources have been put to good use… think of all our current and future alumni contributing to California and beyond.

CSU campuses rank among the highest in the nation in terms of quality… affordability… return on investment… alumni earnings… and total value added… as well as a welcoming and supportive environment for Latino and Latina students… for LGBTQ students… for veterans… and the lists continue.

If I were to report on each of these third-party lists and the top-ranked CSU campuses, we would be here well into dinner. So, perhaps a round of applause for all our campuses and the recent recognition of their tremendous achievements.

This kind of success is rarely accidental… especially when it comes to a university of this size.

Real change takes years… generations… of advocacy. It takes relationships that form with state and federal lawmakers… as well as relationships within our own community of educators and scholars.

Advocacy must be constant and consistent. Equilibrium is not our goal. We do not rest on our laurels – or give in to internal strife. We best move forward when we do so together!

And a large part of our progress comes from listening to each other, to business leaders, to elected officials and to California’s diverse communities.

We saw progress on the national level with the reauthorization of Year-Round Pell… thanks in large part to Jim, George and the work of the CSU in Washington, DC.

Closer to home… my deepest appreciation for advocacy strategy to Kathleen and the team in Sacramento… to Manolo and his alumni cohort… Maggie, George and their fellow students… to Steve, Chris and their faculty colleagues… to our labor leadership… and to our trustees and presidents.

As all of you know well… advocacy moves the needle.

It rarely moves it enough… but without advocacy we risk atrophy… losing the gains of the past and not progressing in the future.

It is our responsibility to have a strategic advocacy plan as part of our circadian rhythm.

So – with my thanks and appreciation for the past year – it is my charge for us to be even better in the next session. California’s future depends on the success of the CSU.

With that a warm welcome to Melissa, Emily and Alana… and a happy welcome back to Sally, Manolo and Maggie… as they take on new roles.

While faces change from time to time, the CSU mission remains profoundly the same.

Yet – in my opinion – our mission – our why – becomes more important every year, as we are an antidote to the seemingly mounting economic, political and social forces that attempt to divide society.

Together, our journey – along with our consistent and compelling advocacy – continues… as it must for the good of all California.

Indeed, Chair Eisen, we are ready to go.