California State University,
Northridge
From the President's Desk

April 17, 1998

CETI Forums Cancellation

In my last From The President's Desk (April 9, 1998), I announced two tentative campus forums to discuss CETI, the planned technology infrastructure partnership currently being negotiated by the CSU. I mentioned that these campus forums would be held contingent on the conclusion of those negotiations.

Attached you will see a statement from the California State University's presidents regarding the status of the CETI negotiations. It is clear that the negotiations will not conclude in a manner timely enough that would give the entire campus community an opportunity to review the proposed agreement prior to our scheduled forums.

For this reason, I am CANCELLING the forums that were tentatively scheduled for Monday, April 20, 1998, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., and Tuesday, April 21, 9:30 to 11 a.m., in the Speech and Drama Campus Theatre.

We regret the need to cancel these forums at this time and assure you that we will reschedule these meetings to give the campus community adequate time and opportunity to provide input and feedback about any proposed agreement that develops. Chancellor Charles Reed has advised us that it may be well into the next academic year before we know for certain whether a CETI agreement can be reached. Please be advised that I will continue to keep you apprised of the CETI negotiations.

Please share this message as appropriate, particularly with your respective faculty and staff.

Blenda J. Wilson
President


CSU PRESIDENTS' STATEMENT:

"The CSU remains committed to CETI and is continuing its negotiations with GTE and Fujitsu. Microsoft and Hughes will not be CETI partners. The CSU is continuing to work with Microsoft on an appropriate relationship. We expect these negotiations to continue well into the next academic year. When an agreement on CETI is reached, the 45-day review and response period will begin so faculty, staff and students can have an active role in assessing the agreement.

"Throughout the entire negotiating process, the CSU leadership, the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees have said they would only accept a deal if it were in the best financial, academic, and long and short term interests of the CSU, its faculty, students and staff. This remains our commitment. In fact, at the direction of the Trustees, before any agreement is reached, an extensive, thorough and independent review of that agreement must be completed including operational, legal and financial risk analysis.

"The more we learned about the process of forming public-private partnerships, and the more the CSU explored new ground, the more we have sought additional consultation and assessment as it relates to CSU risk, equity and debt, all of which have appropriately added to the delay.

"While CETI will not go forward with all the partners as originally envisioned, we still believe the CETI concept is correct. Along with the remaining partners, the CSU may seek new partners who care about the CSU and who are interested in working together to develop and help fund CSU's technology infrastructure initiative.

"It is clear to us the State is unable to provide the up to $300 million required to build the technology infrastructure needed to take the CSU into the 21st century. This means alternative resources must be found. Those of us who are on the front line of budgeting, maintaining academic quality, safeguarding our university's future and making certain our students receive the best possible education, realize the CETI concept is the best and most workable approach.

"Recognizing the creative thinking that went into developing CETI, along with the tremendous time and energy commitment of key CSU personnel, we are more proud than ever to be part of an institution that has the entrepreneurial courage, the commitment to its students and faculty, the vision, and the foresight to seek alternative sources to fund necessary projects such as the technology infrastructure initiative.

"No university can maintain its academic quality and remain competitive if it is not on the cutting edge of technology. But significant resources are required to build the needed technology infrastructure. The CSU needs to use its limited resources to help close the faculty salary gap, maintain its campuses and accommodate growing student enrollment system wide. As a result, what we need are imaginative private partners who care deeply about the CSU, its faculty, staff and students, and who are eager to share the risks as well as the benefits of this proposed public-private partnership.

"Let us reiterate that as the CSU continues its negotiations, no partnership will be consummated which is not in the best interest of the institution, its students, faculty and staff. And, while we have established new general time frames, flexibility is key to our success. The most important goal is a workable and beneficial agreement, not adhering to artificial deadlines.

"Finally, we look forward to working with all concerned as the negotiations continue."


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President Blenda J. Wilson