Chancellor's Recent Speeches

CSU Legislative Day 2000

Good afternoon. What a beautiful day we have here in Sacramento. This is the kind of day where we can all say how proud and lucky we are to be Californians.

I want to thank all of you for participating in CSU Legislative Day 2000.

Also, a special welcome to the legislators we are honoring today: Senators Burton and Johnston, and Assemblyman Runner. Thank you for joining us.

This is my third Legislative Day, and the beginning of my third year at the CSU. In the last two years, we have made giant steps in our priority areas:

  • Improving teacher preparation;
  • Creating partnerships with K-12 schools and helping more of California's students reach the CSU without needing remedial education;
  • Becoming more accountable;
  • Strengthening our relationships with California's community colleges;
  • Responding to Tidal Wave II by using our space and other resources cost-effectively, and by offering evening, weekend, and summer courses.

Our general fund budget has increased by 22 percent over the last two years -- and Governor Davis has proposed another 10 or 11 percent increase for this year. Plus we are close to reaching a Higher Education Partnership agreement with Governor Davis that will assure us stable funding over a long-term period.

We are truly experiencing the best of times right now in California. I want to thank our legislators and our extended CSU family for giving us the support we need to offer high-quality educational opportunities to California's students.

Today I have just one short message to deliver to the CSU community:

The California State University stands on its own.

We don't need to compare ourselves to anybody else.

Sometimes folks say to me: "Charlie, you don't compare us to the UC like lots of other people do." I say, "You're right -- I don't -- and why should I?"

The University of California is the best research university in the world.

And the California State University is the best teaching university -- with the strongest combination of access and quality and faculty scholarship -- in the world.

We stand on our own because we have a unique mission.

This mission gives us a special opportunity to be a student-focused institution, a university that emphasizes teaching and learning and scholarship like no other system.

This year, we serve more than 360,000 students -- more than any other four-year university system in the country.

Because of our unique mission, we can focus on teaching those students and giving them a high-quality education.

In fact, the California State University may be the best buy in America in terms of cost and quality.

And we can benchmark our progress against our mission -- not against what any other university does.

We stand on our own because we add value.

We add value --

To individual students
To their families
To the communities
To California's businesses
To the state of California

We bring students into our institution who might otherwise never have a shot at higher education.

We give those students a high-quality education that they can build on for the rest of their lives.

With the degrees they earn, they are able to succeed in the workforce and become contributing members of their communities.

Essentially, our universities help build the backbone of California's economy and society.

We stand on our own because we are the very best in America at what we do.

Other states wish they had institutions like the CSU.

For that matter, plenty of communities in California wish they had a Cal State campus in their neighborhood. There are approximately 35 million people in California and there are only 23 CSU campuses. That means that each CSU campus has to serve more than a million people.

Some places want to be served by a CSU so badly that they'll do what seems like the impossible.

Look at the Coachella Valley. They wanted a CSU San Bernardino off-campus facility so badly that they raised $9 million dollars. They lined up the last $5.5 million in just four weeks last fall.

That's the kind of thing you do when you want a unique institution that will add value to your community.

Last -- we stand on our own because we meet our citizens' most important needs.

David Broder and the Washington Post recently did some informal polling about the presidential election. They called it "shoe leather" polling because they walked around from neighborhood to neighborhood.

They found that Americans' number one concern was education. According to their polls, the top three results that parents want out of education are:

  1. Safe, non-violent places for children to go to school -- This concern grew out of the Columbine incident in Colorado last spring;
  2. Good teachers -- Parents know what researchers know -- that a high-performing teacher is one of the strongest indicators of student success;
  3. High-quality, low-cost access to higher education -- Parents believe that their children's future success is linked to a college degree.

The CSU directly responds to two of those three needs.

This means we are doing the right job at the right time.

Now -- the CSU is going to be tested in the next few years.

We're going to be measured on how well we carry out our mission to serve students. We're going to be measured on how well we meet the challenge of Tidal Wave II and the 130,000 new students on the way to the CSU. And we're going to be measured on how well we bridge the gap with our state's K-12 schools and community colleges.

All of these challenges mean that we need to stand together as one California State University.

So we are going to need to act like we are one CSU -- like a family.

That means that we can't think in terms of "us and them" or "we and they."

The faculty, the students, the administration, and the alumni -- we all are one CSU.

The campuses and the Chancellor's Office -- we all are one CSU.

The Southern Californians and the Northern Californians -- we all are one CSU.

We will need to stand together as one.

-- This year, the students have already figured that out. They have worked with the campuses, the administration, and in Sacramento with a real sense of unity --

Today we all have a unique opportunity to act as one CSU. We have an important message to send to our legislators and policymakers about the CSU.

Here is that message:

The CSU is the economic engine that drives this state. We prepare more graduates in business, engineering, agriculture, communications, health, education, and public administration than all other California universities and colleges combined.

Our students and the faculty who teach them are the present and the future of California. And if we are going to meet all of the challenges ahead of us in the 21st century, we are going to need the continued support of our state's legislators and policymakers.

We are going to need their support in:

  • Ensuring access for our new students;
  • Preparing more and better public school teachers;
  • Keeping up with technology;
  • Helping improve our public schools;
  • Making sure that our faculty and staff are recognized and compensated fairly.

And with that support, the CSU can help create a bright future for California.

I see that bright future --

Every time I visit a CSU campus;

Every time I walk into a CSU classroom;

Every time I go to a CSU graduation ceremony;

And every time I talk to a business leader who hires CSU graduates.

I hope that all of you see that bright future too. And I hope you share my vision of one California State University standing -- proudly -- on its own.

Thank you very much.

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