Four Year Budget Plan
I am very pleased to report that we have reached an agreement with the Chancellor Munitz and Vice Chancellor West on a four year budget plan which represents the CSU's continuing commitment to help the campus fully recover from the Northridge Earthquake.
The agreement recognizes a) the additional expenses the campus must incur for items that are not reimbursable by FEMA; b) the limited capacity of temporary classrooms which has temporarily reduced our student-faculty ratios; and c) the dramatic loss of student fee revenue resulting from depressed enrollments and changes in the allocation of student fees. Under this agreement, which concludes in 1998/99, the campus has committed to achieving our assigned enrollment target of 18,680 FTES over the next three years. While the campus's general fund and student revenue budgets will be maintained through FY 1996/97, the student revenue budget in subsequent years will be based on actual enrollment.
As part of our discussion with the Chancellor's Office, we have also requested that additional funds be provided to the campus for non-reimbursed earthquake expenses that have been charged to our operating budget over the last two years. Under the direction of Vice President for Administration and Finance Art Elbert, we are gathering information to support that request.
This agreement is very good news for the campus. We are very grateful for the Chancellor's support and equally mindful of our responsibility to achieve our full share of the system's enrollment obligations as rapidly as possible. It goes without saying that our credibility was greatly enhanced by the impressive enrollment recovery we experienced this fall. The continuing efforts of faculty and staff to enhance retention, improve services to students and support recruitment activities will be essential to our success. We are now able to complete the 1995/96 budget which will be published in the near future through the Budget Update.
Fire in Halsted Houses - Update
In my recent report to you about the fire in Halsted Houses, I indicated that our Department of Public Safety would review every aspect of the accident to determine whether we could achieve more prompt responses to reports of smoke or fire in the temporary buildings.
A review of the tape recorded messages to the Department of Public Safety dispatch and 911 indicates that the fire department was on the scene 16 minutes after the first call was received. However, a temporary employee, who was relieving the regular dispatcher for a lunch break, identified the first call as a malfunction of the air conditioning unit and notified Physical Plant Management of the problem. Valuable minutes would have been gained had the employee notified the Fire Department immediately.
Chief Ed Harrison and the Department of Public Safety have revised the response procedures for emergency situations after consultation with the Fire Marshal and the Los Angeles Fire Department. In the future, the fire department will be notified immediately upon the first sighting of any smoke. Complaints of suspicious odors will also be investigated by a responding campus police officer, with simultaneous notification to Physical Plant Management. Dispatch relief assignments will be restricted to experienced personnel.
These measures, combined with the training and maintenance programs outlined in my last From the President's Desk, give us confidence that we will respond promptly and competently to any possible fire emergency on the campus.
EOP Task Force Report
Late last spring I received the report of the Educational Equity Task Force and distributed it widely on campus. Because of the lateness in the year, I requested discussion of the report early in the fall term with the Faculty Senate, the Provost's Council, the Associated Students Senate, the Educational Opportunity Program staff, and other interested parties. The Task Force co-chairs, Dr. Louanne Kennedy and Dr. Nancy Owens, have arranged for meetings with these groups during the next month.
The Task Force report concluded that by addressing the concerns of minority students, the campus climate for all students will be improved. I concur with this conclusion and encourage you to participate in the discussions of the report to gain a better understanding of this important issue. Copies of the Educational Equity Task Force Report are available for review in the following locations: the Reference desk of the Oviatt Library, the offices of the three Vice Presidents, the EOP office, the Faculty President's Office, and the Department offices of the three ethnic studies departments.
I ask that you read the report and respond to me with comments. Following this consultation, I will announce my decisions about the recommendations this fall.
United California State Employees Campaign
I'm pleased to announce that the United California State Employees Campaign is currently underway throughout California and that Cal State Northridge will be participating again this year. The official kick-off date for the Campaign statewide is October 12, 1995 and Provost Louanne Kennedy has agreed to lead this year's drive on campus.
This Campaign gives all of us, as state employees, an opportunity to express caring for our communities and neighbors, and to assist many of the volunteer agencies which helped Cal State Northridge and Southern California during its greatest hour of need after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Many recent disasters, like the Oklahoma City bombing and the recent destructive storms in the Southeast, underscore the important mission of these organizations and remind us that these volunteer agencies bring us closer together as a people and represent the very best of our national character.
The Campaign provides a quick and convenient opportunity to contribute to the charity of your choice. It is also a way for us to demonstrate pride, unity and caring as Californians, state employees and members of the Cal State Northridge community. While I have been very proud of the generous contributions that many of you have made to the program in the past, I hope we will give even more this year.
When you are invited to participate by Provost Kennedy and the Campaign Coordinators in your area, I urge your generous and continued support of the Campaign. We have all benefitted individually and as a community from the work of the voluntary organizations supported by the Campaign, so I hope you will participate generously.
Remedial Education Hearings Update
On Thursday, September 28th, and Friday, September 29th, Cal State Northridge representatives attended open hearings on the draft policy from the CSU Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Remedial Education. In addition to the Associated Students President, representation from the campus included faculty and staff from Biology, Math, Health Science, English, EOP, Admissions and Records, Testing, and Undergraduate Studies. We thank all of you who took time from their busy schedules to attend the hearings on the University's behalf.
The community hearing, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on September 29th, was part of a series of hearings taking place throughout California before the final report is taken to the January Board of Trustees meeting for a vote. The proposed policy has four components: supporting basic skills acquisition in K-12, ensuring that entering CSU students possess those skills necessary to handle university level work, phasing in new entry level requirements, and monitoring and assessing student progress.
The community hearing drew politicians, students, representatives from the community college districts, the University of California, school districts and other informed community representatives. The major concerns expressed by those present were that the proposed policy not reduce access for prospective CSU students, that adequate time be given to phase in changes in mathematic and writing requirements, and that assessment of the effects of the proposed changes be addressed.
The very future of California depends upon our ability to work collaboratively in developing a comprehensive plan that will ensure that students are adequately prepared for the challenges of higher learning. Your continued participation in this important dialogue will help to frame CSU's vision for the future.
I invite the entire campus community to join me at the 1995 Fall Community Forum. As in past forums, I welcome the opportunity to receive your comments and advice and engage in a candid dialogue regarding your ideas and concerns. The community forums help me to know how to support your work and help us all make the university a place in which we can be proud.
The 1995 Fall Community Forum will take place on November 1, 1995, at the new Performing Arts Center in the University Student Union. As in the past, we will schedule two sessions, one starting at 11:30 a.m. and one starting at 1:00 p.m. so that faculty, staff and students will have the opportunity to attend. If there are specific issues you would like addressed at the community forum, please contact my office, in advance of the forum, so that I might be sure to respond to your concerns.
I look forward to seeing you on November 1st.
Information Technology "Shareholders" Survey
I recently distributed to the campus community an Information Technology survey being conducted by the Office of the Chancellor. I am grateful for your prompt and overwhelming response to my request that you return the completed survey to my office.
While the deadline date for the survey was given as October 6th, I would encourage anyone who still wishes to complete the survey to do so and return it to my office. Because of the importance of the information, the Chancellor's Office has extended the due date for the surveys. Thank you for helping to define the information technology needs of the CSU.
Blenda J. Wilson President