March 5, 1996

Proposition 203

On March 26, 1996 California voters will be asked to authorize the sale of $33 billion in General Obligation bonds for the purpose of construction, repair and renovation projects in K-12 schools and in the State's three systems of higher education including the California State University. $2.025 billion are authorized for K-12, and $975 million for higher education.

While Cal State Northridge has no specific projects on the 1996-97 approved list for funding, the Bond Act will benefit the campus by funding CSU system minor capital outlay projects which satisfy safety and environmental regulations and building modifications which bring university facilities in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. We anticipate our share of these projects to be between $250,000 - $350,000.

Proposition 203 has been endorsed by the Trustees of the California State University, the Regents of the University of California, and the California Community College system. Information about the bond act is available from Ms. Dorena Knepper in our Office of Governmental and Community Relations. I encourage you to become informed about this important ballot initiative and to vote on March 26th.

Emergency Preparedness

On November 7, 1995, the University held an evacuation drill for its temporary structures, the Business Administration and Economics and Education Complex, Engineering, Speech Communications, and the Library. Building and floor wardens who had been trained by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety supervised the successful drill. Later this spring we will hold a similar evacuation drill for the remaining buildings and structures on the campus.

Our building and floor wardens, along with over 100 additional faculty and staff, have participated in a six week course sponsored by the Los Angeles Fire Department for Disaster Response Training. This program is well known throughout the state as providing excellent training for responding to emergencies which threaten life, property and the environment such as an earthquake, hazardous materials incident, fire, or explosion. Please contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety if you are interested in participating in a disaster training course.

Recently the members of our campus Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which includes the three Vice Presidents, our Chief of Public Safety, about twenty other staff and myself, spent four hours in training with Mr. Richard Brug, former Director of Public Safety at CSU, San Luis Obispo. Members of the EOC are responsible for the tactical and operational aspects of responding to a disaster. Mr. Brug was on campus for four days, assisting the University in updating it's Multihazard Emergency Management Plan and conducting training sessions for emergency management personnel.

I appreciate the leadership of Vice President Kopita, Chief Ed Harrison and their staffs in making sure we continue to prepare ourselves to respond rapidly and safely in an emergency. I encourage your participation in these training programs when they are offered again.

Campus Theater Repair

We have reached another significant milestone in our earthquake recovery with the opening of the Campus Theater in the Speech Drama Building. Our thanks goes to those who contributed to the repairs and those who have been patient while the construction activities were underway.

We continue to pursue lump sum reimbursement from FEMA and OES for the balance of our recovery projects. Funds totaling over $162 million have been received to date and documentation for an additional 60 DSR's has been submitted to FEMA, representing approximately $138 million additional dollars. The goal for completing all projects is December 1997, although delays at the federal or state level in releasing funds could extend that schedule.

NCOD

For many years, the National Center on Deafness (NCOD) has been funded in large part by a grant from the federal government. As a result, Cal State Northridge has gained a national reputation for our programs and services to the deaf and hearing impaired. We recently learned that as of July 1, 1996 the federal grant will no longer pay for direct services (i.e., interpreting, notetaking, etc.).

Because the NCOD provides essential and excellent services to our students, I am appointing an ad_hoc Committee, co-chaired by the Provost and the Vice President for Student Affairs, to examine our options for maintaining support services for deaf and hearing impaired students. The Vice Presidents will be consulting those members of the University community who have an interest and expertise in this area. I have asked that their report be completed by early May, so that the financial implications of this circumstance can be discussed within our budget planning process for next year.

Please feel free to contact the co-chairs of the committee with your ideas and suggestions.

CashNet Express

The offices of Cash Management and Business Systems in the Division of Administration and Finance have recently completed a pilot project called "CashNet Express." The pilot project was designed to give students the option of paying their registration fees with a credit card, through the same TTR access as Spring registration. Approximately 600 students successfully utilized CashNet Express to pay registration fees for the Spring 96 semester. During the pilot, if assistance was required, students were directed through a helpline to a representative in the Cash Management Office. Throughout the pilot period, students were surveyed regarding the desirability of the service. Responses were very favorable and suggestions for expanding the service to include payment for other campus fees and charges (i.e., parking decals) were numerous.

In response to these suggestions and the success of the pilot program, we have initiated access to CashNet Express for all students. During the Fall 1996 registration period students will also be able to purchase parking decals through the program. With the installation of additional phone lines we hope to expand this service to faculty and staff in the near future.

The efforts of the Cash Management and Student Aid Business offices are an excellent example of the ways in which we can work to identify new approaches for the delivery of services, to simplify business processes and to minimize the time required for students to pay fees and receive financial aid monies. We are grateful for the work of these offices in improving services to students.

Outstanding Graduating Senior

Members of the faculty and staff should have recently received an invitation from the Division of Student Affairs to nominate students for the 1996 Outstanding Graduating Senior Award. Five exceptional students are annually honored with this award which is based upon academic excellence, campus and community service, and other distinguishing achievements. The awards carry a monetary prize, funded through our development efforts, and the recipients are recognized during the Honors Convocation.

Recognizing the achievements of our graduating seniors is an important acknowledgement of the potential of all of our students and I encourage you to participate in this "prideful tradition." Application and recommendation forms can be obtained from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Mail Drop Code 8239.

North Campus Development Project

In late November, the Board of Directors of the North Campus-University Park Development Corporation reviewed nine proposals for the development of the North Campus property. Four developers were selected for further consideration and asked to prepare more detailed proposals to accommodate University requirements. These proposals were received on February 29, 1996; the Corporation has scheduled the following dates for each developer to present his/her proposal at an open meeting:

Monday, March 11:
9:30 - 11:00 a.m.- Shoshone Room, Satellite Student Union
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. - Shoshone Room, Satellite Student Union

Tuesday, March 12:
9:30 - 11:00 a.m. - Fernandeno Room, Satellite Student Union
2:30 - 4:00 p.m. - Fernandeno Room, Satellite Student Union

These meetings will be limited to the presentations by the developers. They will be encouraged to use slides, graphs, charts, and any other visual materials to enable University personnel and interested community persons to be fully informed about the proposals. Following the presentations, members of the University and surrounding community are encouraged to share their comments and opinions by fax or regular mail to:

Mr. Jack Rollow, Project Consultant
Office of Facilities Planning and Operation
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330-8219
Fax: 818-407-6552

At the regular, open meeting of the North Campus Board, University personnel and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the various proposals as a means of providing advice to the Corporation Board. This meeting will be held on March 25, 1996, at 2:30 p.m., in the Grand Salon of the University Student Union. The North Campus Board will act on the proposals and select the developer for the project following the public's comments. Final approval of the developer(s) for the North Campus Development Project will be requested of the California State University Board of Trustees at its meeting on May 15, 1996.

We encourage as many of you as possible to attend these meetings and offer your comments and suggestions. Our goal is to identity a partner who will develop the North Campus in ways that will provide additional facilities and revenue to support the educational mission of the campus.

Spring Community Forum

I am pleased to extend an invitation to the entire campus community to join me at the 1995 Spring Community Forum. As in the past, the forums give me the opportunity to share information about the progress of the University with you and, more importantly, to receive your comments and advice about campus matters.

As you know we have been engaged in a vigorous dialogue about our mission and values as part of the strategic planning process, and are now moving to begin defining the strategic themes that will be necessary to help us advance the University's mission. I am very interested in your reactions to what we have crafted to date and how these efforts might support your work and help us achieve excellence. We will also discuss the 1996-97 University budget process, which begins in March, to encourage your participation in the discussions about budget priorities.

The 1996 Spring Community Forum will take place on April 10, 1996 at the University Student Union in the Grand Salon. We have scheduled 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 discussed during the forum, please feel free to contact my office, in advance of the forum, so that we will be sure to address them.

I look forward to seeing you on April 10.

Blenda J. Wilson
President