Report of the Chair

Remarks by Jeffrey L. Bleich
Chair of the Board
CSU Board of Trustees – Chair’s Report
January 28, 2009

It is a pleasure to welcome Henry Mendoza to the board. Many of you already know Trustee Mendoza. He was an appointed member for a brief time in 2007. Henry, would you like to say anything?

Mr. Mendoza remarked that he is product of the CSU and it is an honor to serve on the board. He noted that education opens many doors.

Mr. Bleich resumed his report.

As the audience can see, we have computer screens in front of us as we converted to a paperless Agenda. It allows us to utilize technology and be “green.” I want to thank my colleagues for their cooperation during this transition.

We have been watching the state, national, and global economies meltdown for some months, often changing daily if not hourly. Some parts of this difficulty trace back several years (spring 2005) when the mortgage industry regulations were relaxed. The mortgage issues, regulatory failing, and related greed by some triggered a freefall in global finances. By all accounts the crisis will get worse. No one could have known how sharp the economic drop would be. And, no one knows how long it will take to recover. During President Obama’s inauguration speech, he acknowledged the economic crisis is grave and it will take time to stabilize. He has assembled a powerhouse economic team to help lead this nation.

As we discussed yesterday in the Committee on Finance, the CSU is in a precarious situation for its 2008-09 finances as well as in the Governor’s Budget for the 2009-10 year. Maintence of services and quality is hinged on a student fee increase and still leaves us with a $15 million shortfall. And, the state’s cash flow and indebtedness problems are having a devastating impact on our capital construction projects. We need to continue our message in Sacramento so that the Legislature and Governor do not forget us while they work on the budget bill. Chancellor Reed will have more to say in his report, and I know he will continue informing elected officials of the economic and social contributions of the CSU campuses.

Now, moving to happier news.

We congratulate U.S. Representative and Cal Poly Pomona alumna Hilda Solis who was chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as the Secretary of Labor under his administration. She awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Ms. Solis studied political science at Cal Poly Pomona and graduated in 1980. She has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001, following nine years in the California State Legislature.

The John Spoor Broome Library at CSU Channel Islands was named a winner in the California Construction magazine Best of 2008 awards program. The Library won the Award of Merit in the Outstanding Architectural Design category. An independent jury of industry experts in design and construction judged more than 140 nominated projects in a variety of categories.
I participated in the Alumni Council’s annual conference held in San Francisco during the weekend of January 9 – 10, along with Chancellor Reed and Alumni Trustee Linscheid. I can attest this is a high energy group of committed volunteers and campus professionals who help the CSU campuses and system everyday. We rely on their help during times like now with the budget crisis. Thank you, Valerie for inviting me to the conference.

The 2009 Cal Poly Universities float, "Seaside Amusement," marks the 61st consecutive time students from the Pomona and San Luis Obispo campuses provided an entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade. The float featured a lively and whimsical seaside boardwalk filled with amusement rides and attractions, including a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, parachute drop, carousel horses, bumper cars, and game, food and ticket booths. Decorated by students, parents, alumni, and volunteers, the float was designed by Shawna Swanson, a San Luis Obispo art and design major – who may have a future as a professional float designer. She won a cash prize of $1,000 as a result of her design.

In December, a dominant Humboldt State University team has won the National Wildlife Quiz Bowl for the sixth time in eight years, trouncing its four top competitors among 18 teams from such eminent schools as Purdue, Virginia Tech, the University of Wisconsin and Texas A&M. The wildlife bowl quiz deals with basic taxonomy, policy, ecology, biology and statistics. Besides their classroom learning, the Humboldt students simulate competitions to develop their skills.

Every January, the board chair is required by our Rules of Procedure to nominate five trustees to serve on the Committee on Committees. This committee nominates the board chair, vice chair, CPEC representative and chairs and members of the standing committees. I nominate Debra Farar as committee chair, and trustees Roberta Achtenberg, Herb Carter, Melinda Guzman, and Lou Monville to serve on the Committee on Committees. A vote to approve the committee will be taken at the March meeting of this board.

That concludes my report. It is now time for the Chancellor’s Report.