President's Office

From the President's Desk October 1 1997


Chancellor Barry Munitz recently announced an historic public/private partnership for the California State University system with the selection of Team GTE - consisting of GTE, Fujitsu Business Communications Systems, Hughes Global Services, and Microsoft - as the CSU's new business partners to build out the CSU's information technology infrastructure. The system will now enter a phase, lasting approximately three months, to negotiate the terms of the partnership and develop an implementation plan. The partnership, with combined assets of $85 billion, will be known as the California Educational Technology Initiative (CETI) team (formerly known as the Systemwide Internal Partnership, or SIP), and is comprised of leaders in the field, many having long-standing relationships with the CSU.

This initiative is the most comprehensive and intensive planning effort in the system's history and will give our students the competitive advantage they will need to keep pace in our technology driven world. The partnership aims to enhance the quality of learning and teaching, improve the quality of the student experience, increase administrative productivity and quality, and enhance the personal productivity of students, faculty and staff. GTE and its industry partners are committed to providing a robust and ubiquitous infrastructure that will not only improve the existing CSU system, but will enable the CSU to move forward with the necessary enhancements to stay technology rich.

This is among the most important strategic developments for enabling Cal State Northridge to continue the leadership role we have achieved within the CSU. With recent legislative confirmation that CSU funding, whether in the form of additional student fees or a systemwide technology fee, will not gain state support, CETI is the only viable opportunity for us and our sister campuses to implement our technology goals. To be sure, however, this is also an initiative that requires new skills of partnering and a new level of trust in the power of our collective interests.

We will hold a community forum on October 14 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center of the University Student Union to inform the campus community about the importance and specifics of the CETI initiative. Dr. Tom West, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Resources and Technology, and Mr. David Ernst, Executive Director of ITS, from the Chancellor's Office, will join Dr. Susan Curzon and me to provide you with additional background information about the process to date and to cover implementation issues currently under development. It is essential that you participate in this important discussion._Please plan on attending the forum on the 14th.


At their September 17 meeting, the CSU Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the newest CSU campus, California State University, Channel Islands, at the Camarillo State Hospital site in Ventura. They also approved a plan to relocate the CSUN Ventura Center to the new university site until such time as funds and students can sustain the new campus. CSUCI will occupy an estimated 200,000 gross square feet at the hospital site, which is sufficient to accommodate up to 3,000 students by 2004-05. Lease and development revenues are anticipated to help finance the approximate $24 million cost of capital renovations over the next five years.

The approval is contingent on three aspects of the plan: that a special authority will be created to facilitate lease and development activity at the site; that the state will provide a funding augmentation to the CSU of $6.5 million to operate the center; and that the CSU has the option to defer expansion of the facility if there is not sufficient funding in the future. The $6.5 million augmentation is part of CSU's 1998-99 state budget request.

The Board's action is great news for the system and a welcome opportunity for the CSUN Ventura Center to respond to the enrollment demands that have been limited by space in recent years. Provost Louanne Kennedy and I will be working with CSUCI President J. Handel Evans to create a smooth transition plan to serve the growing needs for higher education in Ventura County.


For the third year in a row, Cal State Northridge fielded a "Gold Team" in AIDS Walk L.A. Twelve buses of enthusiastic students, faculty and staff - numbering over 1000 from pre-registration roles - left the campus to join the more than 25,000 walkers, with pledges to help support medical research to cure AIDS.

It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of a caring university community. Our roles and contributions have increased each year. We are proud to share in this annual expression of compassion in LA and grateful to everyone who walked with us.

Special thanks to Ms. Amy Reichbach, Health Educator in the Student Health Center, and her dedicated support staff for another year in which Cal State Northridge was a leader!


On September 5, 1997, Judge David Horowitz granted our motion for summary judgment in the Christopher Landers v. CSU case. You will recall that this lawsuit was brought when a Cal State Northridge student used the university's server and his university account to create a Web page which promoted a specific political candidate in the November 1996 general election. The student was granted a preliminary injunction when a different judge found that our original computer/technology policy had created a limited public forum, requiring us to meet the "strict scrutiny" standard the court applies to free speech rights.

In his ruling, Judge Horowitz found that the campus' amended computer use policy meets the constitutional standards of "reasonableness," required in non-public forum cases. Since the university's revised policy mooted the plaintiffs claims, the judge granted our motion for summary judgment.

We are very pleased with this decision and are very grateful for our General Counsel's office and Ms. Donna Ziegler's advice and representation of our case. This case represents an area of emerging law related to university policies on Internet and Web page access that we may expect to be tested further in the courts. We will keep you informed should the plaintiff appeal the judge's ruling.


Many of you have by now read the newspaper reports that the North Campus MarketCenter agenda item was withdrawn from consideration by the CSU Board of Trustees. While the development of this project has been on-going for almost two years, in my final consultation with Chancellor Munitz, we agreed that, despite considerable progress in aligning the needs of the university with the interests of the community, the revised development program only marginally fulfilled the principles accepted by the Board of Trustees' May 1996 resolution. Therefore, I withdrew the request for Board certification of the environmental impact report and approval of the development plan from the Trustees' agenda.

I know this decision was a great disappointment to our development partners, Cousins/Hopkins, who have worked hard and long with us during the last two years to achieve our original goal of providing a revenue stream for the university's academic mission. Our developers' professionalism, expertise and willingness to work with the campus and its surrounding community interest groups was a textbook example of the spirit of partnering and cooperation, and we hold them in high regard for their many efforts to reach an acceptable compromise on the project.

A beneficial outcome of our many conversations surrounding this project has been the creation of a concept plan for the development of the entire 65 acres of the North Campus. The concept plan was developed by a 28-member Task Force of university faculty and staff, community organizations, and homeowner's associations, that I appointed last April. Their efforts represent the spirit of thoughtful compromise that is possible even among divergent interests. Using the task force concept plan as a foundation, and hoping to enhance the university/community consultation process, we will continue to pursue joint public/private partnerships to develop our real estate assets and further our academic mission. We expect to go back to the Board of Trustees at a later date with a comprehensive master plan for the North Campus that will provide appropriate facilities and/or revenues to support the strategic priorities of the campus.


Reminder: The Fall Community Forum, which gives the university community an open forum to meet with me, ask questions, and learn about ongoing campus initiatives and programs, will be held on Wednesday, November 5, in the Thousand Oaks Room of the University Student Union. All members of the university community are welcome to attend.

As in the past, I will host two back-to-back sessions in order to welcome the greatest possible participation of the total campus. The first session is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the second session is scheduled between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. I will look forward to seeing you on November 5.

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Blenda J. Wilson