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UC Riverside Chancellor Tapped to Lead Cal State University System

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Tim White will replace retiring Chancellor Charles Reed

BVN Staff Report

UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy White will head the 23- campus California State University system and its nearly 427,000 students, according to a press release from the CSU.

White has been UC Riverside’s chancellor since 2008. His experience includes work as president at the University of Idaho and as a dean and temporary president for Oregon State University.

White becomes the seventh chancellor of the Cal State system.

He’ll take over the nation’s largest university system amid major budget cuts, tuition increases, and reductions in courses and enrollment that have affected the system’s students.

In a letter to the UCR community, White said: “This decision fills me with both pain and pride; Pain at leaving an institution and community that have been so enormously welcoming to my family and me. Pride at all we have accomplished together, and for achievements yet to come.

“I feel this is a tremendous opportunity for me to try to do more for higher education in this state, at a time that is both precarious and potentially transformative. It is an opportunity to affect the futures of some 430,000 CSU students, and those yet to come."

Exiting Cal State chancellor Charles Reed praised White’s selection. “I am really pleased and proud that the board has selected somebody that really understands the California State University mission,” Reed said.

Part of that understanding, Reed and the chair of the board of trustees said, results from White's education in California public schools and higher education.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he immigrated to Northern California when he was eight years old. White is a first-generation college student who has matriculated within every college system in California. Beginning at Diablo Valley Community College, he earned a bachelor’s from Fresno State University and a master's from Cal State Hayward, finally earning a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley.

Pursuing the Cal State chancellor job, White said, is a way to improve the state university system that changed his life.

Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, said in a statement that she hopes White “will understand the needs of the CSU and will establish a goal of unifying everyone behind our critical educational mission, particularly during these difficult times.”

The association has clashed with the current chancellor, characterizing his push for tuition increases and faculty pay cuts as a corporate-driven management style. White said he looks forward to a positive relationship with the university’s faculty.

“Tim White’s background and experience reflect the institutional values and mission of the CSU,” said Bob Linscheid, the chair of the CSU board of trustees. “His demonstrated leadership and commitment to student success are the right combination for the university’s future.”

It is a good sign to see someone who has experience in higher education in the position, said Vince Ornelas, the president of the Chico State chapter of the California Faculty Association.

“His firsthand experience will serve him well, because his profile mirrors that of many other CSU students,” Ornelas said. “He does not come from wealth, and that will help him understand the role that the CSU needs to play in education.”

Ornelas hopes White will do a good job of raising funds for the university system, he said. White was instrumental in fundraising at UC Riverside.

“I hope he continues to outreach to other sources of funding, such as private industry, rather than the students,” Ornelas said. “That will help him and the CSU.”

A large portion of Cal State’s fiscal health for this academic year hangs on the thread of Proposition 30 on California’s November ballot.

The initiative would raise California sales taxes and some taxes on wealthy citizens to help pay for public education. Because of the way the state’s budget has been balanced, the failure of Prop. 30 would mean a $250 million system- wide cut to Cal State.

White joked that he’d “drink a big glass of scotch,” if the measure fails. Some Cal State undergraduates would probably want a shot too. Last month trustees approved a 5% tuition increase for undergraduates in the spring if Prop. 30 fails.

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