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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

CSU+Chancellor+Joseph+I.+Castro+listened+to+community+speakers+at+the+virtual+open+forum+for+the+search+for+the+new+Fresno+State+president+on+Feb.+9.+%28Jannah+Geraldo%2FThe+Collegian%29
CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro listened to community speakers at the virtual open forum for the search for the new Fresno State president on Feb. 9. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)

Fresno State community voices expectations for future president

Fresno State students, faculty and extended community voiced concerns and desired qualities for the new Fresno State president at the presidential search open forum on Feb. 9.

California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro, the Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President (TCSP) and the Advisory Committee to the Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President (ACTCSP) were present at the virtual forum to listen to community and campus speakers.

The virtual forum is the initial step for the presidential search process and provides the TCSP and ACTCSP insight into the needs of the campus community.

Castro emphasized that the presidential search process will remain confidential in nature, and discussions about potential candidates will remain private between committee members.

“It’s vitally important that this process remain confidential so that we can actively recruit a strong, talented, diverse pool of candidates,” Castro said. “And there will be cases in which some of the candidates with whom we wish to speak are in positions where it would be very damaging for people to hear that they are talking with us.”

Committee meetings regarding potential candidates will not be made publicly available, and the committee will not provide comments to the community about the search, Castro said.

“Some might worry that this would be too secretive of a process. I understand and respect the different views on this matter, but what we’ve learned in the CSU is that this is the best way to get the strongest pool possible and to protect the candidates,” Castro said. “And the way in which the community is represented is through this discussion today, where we’re listening carefully to all of you in terms of the kinds of characteristics we should look for in our next president.”

TCSP and ACTCSP members took note of the statements made by community members at the open forum. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)

Campus and extended community members were invited to register to speak at the open forum and were allotted 1 minute, 30 seconds to speak.

Major topics voiced by speakers included campus sustainability, representation of students of color, student and staff retention rates and campus inclusivity.

Marissa Acosta, Fresno State alumnus and climate corps fellow at Fresno State, said the presidential candidate should continue progress toward sustainability on campus.

“For this reason, we strongly hope that an acknowledgment of climate change as a non-partisan existential issue and understanding of the many inequities members of our community faced, as well as a pledge to carry on efforts to improve campus sustainability, be requisite attributes of any potential candidate,” Acosta said.

Beth Contreras, a second-year Fresno State student, said that, on behalf of the CSU Students for Quality Education, efforts should be made by the future president to further inclusivity on campus.

“This means funding student retention programs for their mental health resources: the Cross-Cultural and Gender Center and further resources for Black students, Indigenous students, students of color, as well as LGBTQ+ community,” Contreras said.

Yesenia Silva, research assistant for the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, said that the potential candidate must be aware of culture and challenges within the Central Valley community.

Dawn Lewis, professor of kinesiology and former faculty athletic representative, emphasized the need for the new president to be attentive to the degree programs at Fresno State, and they must gain the trust of faculty and students.

“Increasing our research status and gaining the trust of faculty is really important here, and then also that we improve the recruitment, retention and the support of, particularly African American students, but all of our students of color at Fresno State, including our Latino and Native Americans. All of them. So I want to make certain that our future president … has a strong position in that area,” Lewis said.

The search committee will continue to convene over a period of six to 12 months and will aggregate all further community input and concerns for the presidential candidate through a Survey Monkey form on the CSU website.

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