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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento
Town Hall meetings prompt discussions
Hall meeting video
Institutional identity, fund raising, budget cuts, community involvement and
the potential for a University village with housing, shopping and restaurants.
These were all on the minds of faculty, administrators, staff and students who
attended the first two scheduled Town Hall meetings President Alexander Gonzalez
held last week.
The last scheduled Town Hall meeting will be at 3 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 10
in the Union Hinde Auditorium.
The President says the meetings, which he first announced during his Aug. 28
address to the campus community, are to help him open the lines of communication
and gather information in order to plan for the University’s future. “This
is a campus that has a lot of potential,” he said.
More than one audience member expressed confusion about the name for the campus.
Gonzalez acknowledged, “The name of the campus has come up many times
– Sac State vs. CSUS vs. the Capital University. We need to decide what
we are going to call ourselves.
“I think branding is a big issue here. I’ve heard it over and over
as a way to unify of all these different voices into one and make a common presentation
to the community. I hope to get us moving in that direction.”
Gonzalez also asked the crowd about their views on community involvement and
in development efforts around the perimeter of the campus. Though the University
is not directly involved in the development already underway in Elvas Ave.-65th
Street area, he has met with councilmembers to begin a dialogue about future
plans. Audience members stressed that affordable housing could help draw new
faculty and that a good mix of businesses could attract both students and staff.
It was also suggested that development in the adjacent area would help the campus
make better use of evening hours.
There were concerns about how to pay for new development, particularly new residence
halls on campus, which studies have shown would be enormously popular with students.
It was also pointed out that with the increase in housing, there would be a
corresponding need to increase student life such as recreation and events. Seeking
alternative funding such as public-private partnerships was brought up as a
Gonzalez predicted that CSUS could become a student destination. “We already
have a good core of education. Adding those amenities – residence halls,
campus life – will change the environment on campus and will draw students
from around the state. More students will want to come here.” He envisions
a campus resident population of as many as 5,000.
The campus’ budget crunch came up in discussions of student access and
other services. Gonzalez noted that while the campus took cuts this time around,
next year will likely be even worse when the University may be forced to turn
away qualified students. The resulting flat enrollment will make the fiscal
situation even worse, because increases are what trigger funding. But he also
expressed optimism that the financial picture will brighten within a couple
In the area of fundraising, there was talk of the need to educate donors about
what kinds of funding are needed. Gonzalez said there are various ways to fund
projects beyond state-supported or state-assisted, such as those that provide
naming opportunities. “It would be great if we had all kinds of names
other than Eureka or Lassen – if we had Smith, or Kellogg or Hewlett Packard.
“Naming allows a level of excellence. Once you get named buildings it
attracts other donors. One begets the other.”
The audience spoke of the need to educate the community about the University.
Gonzalez agreed, saying everyone on campus should promote campus successes “shamelessly,
“It’s everyone’s responsibility. All the ingredients, the
components to be a flagship campus are here,” he said. “But it’s
a reputation that’s earned.”
Gonzalez also identified topics he received as e-mail messages at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the topics that were raised were athletics, distance education and the
use of electronic communication to share information with the campus.
On the topic of athletics, President Gonzalez reiterated his plan to put together
a committee to do a review of the program’s organizational structure and
level of competitiveness. He plans to announce the committee members this week.
To address the need for more instantaneous communication with the campus, Gonzalez
says he intends to make frequent use of e-mail, rather than paper to share feedback.
Gonzalez said that he will report what he learns back to the campus community.
After the first three Town Hall meetings he will add more if needed. For more
information contact the president’s office at 278-7737. To send comments
California State University, Sacramento Public Affairs
6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 (916) 278-6156