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President's Spring Address
January 22, 2009

Alexander Gonzalez
Sacramento State

Good morning, and thank you for coming today. 

I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and welcome back to campus.

Joining me on stage are:

  • Joe Sheley, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Jackie Donath, Chair of the Department of Humanities and Religious Studies.  She’s also our point person on WASC, and she will be giving an update on our re-accreditation efforts.
  • Bruce Bikle, Chair of the Faculty Senate.
  • Miguel Cervantes, ASI President.

First, a little bit of housekeeping.

I encourage everyone here to sign up for Sacramento State’s Emergency Notification System, which is also known as ENS.

This is the system we use to send text messages and emails to faculty, staff and students in the event of a campus emergency.

To sign up, go to the Sac State home page and click on the ENS icon.

And encourage your friends on campus to sign up as well.

It only takes a few seconds.

ENS is a state-of-the-art system, but we can’t reach you unless you sign up.

Now, I wish I had better news about the economy and the state budget.

The Governor recently proposed a budget in response to the nearly $42 billion shortfall the state is projected to have through the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year.
This has serious implications for the CSU system:

  • The $66.3 million cut proposed in the special legislative session is being made permanent.
  • Another $217.3 million for operating costs and increased enrollment in the 2009-2010 fiscal year was not funded.
  • The state’s freezing of $600 million in bonds is forcing the suspension of hundreds of construction projects across the CSU.
  • Student fees would increase by 10 percent.

Here’s what this means to us at Sacramento State:

First of all, we are complying with the cost-saving measures ordered by the Chancellor’s Office, including restrictions on travel, and stopping non-essential purchases and non-essential hires.

Next, I want to say that I realize it’s difficult to talk about some of the better news for our campus when there is a proposed increase to student fees.

It’s a sad reality that the same economic forces that jeopardize our state funding also put tremendous pressure on our students.

So while our budget is shrinking, our commitment to improving what we provide our students must be stronger than ever. 

I want everyone to know that we are not cutting any classes for the Spring semester.

The new Residence Hall and the Recreation and Wellness Center are going ahead as planned because they are not being built with state funds.

The move to the CalSTRS building is proceeding as scheduled.

We are also doing everything possible to preserve everyone’s position.

The CSU is different from other state agencies because we do not fall under the Governor’s recent order for furloughs and pay cuts.

And at this time, the Board of Trustees has not gone in that direction.

I hope everyone remembers that the work we did to plan ahead and prepare for this crisis is helping us now.

The members of the University Budget Advisory Committee have done an outstanding job under difficult circumstances, and I want to thank them.

Together, we closed the campus’s structural deficit, and as a result, we don’t have to deal with a problem that is $7.2 million larger than it could have been.

We also prudently cut nearly $5 million from the current fiscal year’s budget.

And Student Affairs has managed our enrollment to preserve the quality of education we offer and ensure that we do not lose funding due to impaction.

But now our work gets even more difficult.

The state budget is a long way from being signed, and we likely will have some tough choices to make.

So I will be meeting regularly with UBAC throughout the Spring and Summer.

We will do everything we can to protect this campus.

Last August, in my Fall Address, I said that it is ironic that in times like these, the demand for education rises.

We also know that the need for higher education grows.

Friends and colleagues, our economy, state and nation need educated graduates now more than ever. 

The people of our communities need the degrees and courses we offer.

And our students and prospective students need us to continue to be a beacon of hope—no matter how difficult the economy or how bleak the news.

History has shown us that an innovative workforce is the best way to overcome an economic downturn.

So we must work together to get through this fiscal crisis and continue to provide students with our excellent programs.

Thank you very much.