Outgoing chancellor: Charles Reed faced controversy, challenges
Incoming chancellor: Tim White unafraid of challenges ahead
POMONA - Despite being a magnet for critics angry about budget cuts and rising tuition in recent years, outgoing California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed fought for the education of all Californians, according to Cal Poly Pomona president J. Michael Ortiz.
"He has always been a champion, and his programs are being modeled across the nation in terms of trying to serve under-served populations," Ortiz said.
Although Reed is perhaps best-known for being at the center of controversy regarding tuition hikes and salary cuts across the 23-campus system, he's long worked to increase the number of students from under-served populations enrolled and improve their chances of succeeding once in college, Ortiz said.
"Under his stewardship, a lot has been achieved," said James E. Swartz, a professor of International Business and Marketing at Cal Poly Pomona, who also sits on the Academic Senate of the California State University.
"When Charlie first came to us, we were nowhere near as diverse or reflective of our citizenry. ... All of our under-served groups enjoyed enormous upticks under his leadership. ... The California State University has become truly a melting pot for society, and it's truly a beacon for the whole nation."
Reed was a driving force behind the CSU's Early Assessment Program, Ortiz said.
The program identifies high school juniors who would need remedial courses once enrolled in college and gets them that help before high school graduation, saving money for the CSU and making more efficient use of their time for students once enrolled.
Today, the program has been replicated in 45 other states.
"We here at Cal Poly Pomona have probably trained something in the neighborhood of 10,000 parents" through the Parents Institute for Quality Education, a Reed-backed program that helped train parents of first-generation college students on what was expected of them and what was required to succeed in higher education.
"We admit the parents to the university and then challenge them to keep them enrolled. ... We tell them `They're in now. This is what you have to do to keep them in."'
Reed also defended those outreach programs - including Super Sundays, when CSU presidents spread out to African-American churches across the state to lobby parents on the benefits of a college education - from the budget-cutting scissors of the legislature.
The criticism of the outgoing chancellor of Reed - who steps down on Dec. 30 - was somewhat unfair, Ortiz said.
"He concurrently was proposing a budget to the legislature and was advocating for those things that the CSU needed. That budget was really never addressed by the legislature," he said.
"When you've lost 40 percent of your budget, you have to do something."
But in the view of many faculty members, Reed didn't always make the right choices: "We have seen an erosion of our (faculty) rights and an erosion of our benefits, (along with) an explosion of executive-level appointments, an explosion of executive salaries and, in certain cases, executive appointments that were not made with due process and consultation with the faculty," Swartz said.
His department at Cal Poly Pomona had 23 tenure-track faculty when Swartz first arrived on the campus. Today, it has 10.
"What we hear from the administration is `Oh, we don't have money for more faculty,' but what we say is `Oh, but you have the money for more vice-chancellors,"' Swartz said.
"I have meetings with him every so often. He is one of the toughest educational professionals I've ever met, which makes him a good fit for the CSU" these days, Cal State Student Association president David Allison said.
"The more I learned, the more I realized: He was put in the position of choosing between affordability and accessibility."
At the end of the day, the cuts could have been much worse, according to some.
"To still have student tuition less than $6,000 a year, it's phenomenal," Ortiz said.
Reach Beau via email, call him at 909-386-3826, or find him on Twitter @InlandEd.