February 10, 2023
The next chancellor of the CSU system should be a leader who can boldly address the needs of a diverse student body that, in the wake of the pandemic, has struggled mightily not only with academics but basic needs like food and housing.
That has been the overwhelming message from a series of public forums held throughout the state this week as the search for the next leader of the 23-campus system kicks into high gear.
The search comes as the institution has also been beset by internal scandal. Previous CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro resigned a year ago after allegations that as Fresno State’s president, he mishandled a sexual harassment case involving Frank Lamas, an administrator. CSU is currently investigating how sexual harassment cases have been handled systemwide.
“I want somebody who is not just aware of and willing to address sexual discrimination and sexual assault and other forms of discrimination, but somebody who’s willing to address the systemic issues that enables and protects somebody like Frank Lamas on campus,” said Chris Beck, an academic counselor at Fresno State.
A 20-member search committee plans to interview candidates in May and June and present finalists to the CSU board in July. These public forums in Long Beach, Bakersfield and San Francisco are meant to help the board write its description for the job of CSU’s next leader.
Speakers said the CSU system — the largest statewide university system in the country with 477,466 students— needs to do more to serve the students it so often publicly hails in its messaging, such as first-generation students, immigrants, students of color.