The students and faculty of the California State University system have witnessed to a steady decline in universityfunding for the last 20 years. Granted, the trend hasimproved in the budget over the last few years as a result of higher enrollment, but universities have had to tighten their belts, nonetheless.
The president of the university serves as chief executive officer and, per calstate.edu, should show general administrative effectiveness including management of human, fiscal and physical resources.
Current president of Sonoma State University, Dr. Ruben Armiñana has shown effectiveness in accomplishing plans and expanding the university’s campus.
In his tenure at Sonoma State, Dr. Armiñana helped develop the Jean and Charles Shultz information center in August of 2000, the Green Music Center in 2012 and the Student Center in 2013.
Although partially privately funded, the price tags on these buildings were not cheap, withthe project cost of the library at $41.5 million, the Green Music Center at $140 million and the Student Center at $62 million.
While the students of Sonoma State did approve the Student Center by vote (an election that was later challenged) they didn’tapprove the consequences that faced allocating funds to thebuildings. Class availability is still low while the acceptance rate of Sonoma State is still high, reaching 90 percent according to U.S. News and World Report.
Unfortunately, a general consensus has formed that the school’s finances were not properly handled and the voices of the students not heard.
However, a qualified professional trained in student affairs in the University of California system may be the answer to Sonoma State’s qualms.
Dr. Judy Sakaki, former vice chancellor of student affairs at University of California, Davis, was named as Armiñana’s successor, effective July 1.
Dr. Sakaki is very familiar with the CSU system, earning her bachelor’s degree in human development and master’s degree in educational psychology at CSU Eastbay.
Her history with the CSU system and her most recent experience with the UC system should translate into a comprehensive understanding of the interworking of the state’s education budget.
A university needs a president who shows they are concerned about students’ needs, not one who says they know better.
While a new student center was a stylish addition, it doesn’t serve as a replacement for faculty. What this university needs isn’t a new outdoor jumbo-television screen. It needs efficient class offerings to match the record acceptance rates.
When students beg for private parking lots to be opened and parking pass priceslowered, they don’t want to hear there is plenty of parking at the GMC. Instead, a president should offer the students the opportunity to cooperate with themand consider options and compromises.
According to The Press Democrat, Dr. Sakaki has worked to ensure student access, affordability and success in the UC system by creating policies and initiatives. While success is a relative term, many would consider earning a bachelor’s degree in a four-year span a great achievement.
The job of Dr. Sakaki is now to help Sonoma State students graduate on time and ensure they not be distracted by material things such as the giant screen that illuminates Seawolf Plaza.