Category Archives: CSUN

EO1110 Update

The following is from an email to Senate Exec from incoming Faculty President Mary-Pat Stein and incoming Vice-President Michael Neubauer:

Michael and I were invited to a meeting on Wednesday afternoon with President
Harrison, Provost Li, AVP UGS Elizabeth Adams, Dean Jerry Stiner, Vice Provost Theodoulou, the chair of the math department Rabia Djellouli, Kate Stevenson and Jill Smith. At that meeting President Harrison invoked her executive authority to order the math department to offer curriculum in response to the demands of EO 1110. That curriculum was not approved by EPC. The chair of the math department and the dean of the college indicated that they would abide by the order. This may be the first time in CSUN’s history that curriculum will be offered that has not been approved by the appropriate faculty committee.

This is public information so share as you like.

mp and Michael

Update 24 April

Shortly after this post went up, President Harrison made an official announcement via email. Here’s her letter:

Dear Colleagues,

As many of you know, last fall the California State University issued several Executive Orders that direct certain curricular changes on CSU campuses. These Executive Orders have been criticized among many of our faculty who, through the CSUN Faculty Senate, voted not to participate in their implementation. I have directly expressed my own concerns to faculty and to CSU leadership about these Executive Orders.

Respecting the decision of our Faculty Senate not to voluntarily participate in implementing Executive Order 1110, and following an update meeting yesterday with the Dean of the College of Science and Math, the Chair of the Department of Mathematics, the Director of Developmental Mathematics and others, I want to report that I have directed the implementation of credit bearing courses in lieu of the remedial coursework in developmental math, as I am obligated by the CSU to do.

Please know that I support and value our Math faculty as well as faculty governance over curricular matters. Our Math Department colleagues have worked very hard to develop the curriculum needed within a very short time period despite concerns that some faculty have over this CSU requirement. As a state institution, we are legally required to comply with the directives of the Chancellor’s Office, the Board of Trustees of the California State University System, and with state legislation.

I have personally had many conversations over the course of many months within the CSU about these and other related Executive Orders. I respect and appreciate the concerns raised by some of our faculty in support of our students and have championed those voices. But in this case, and in support of the need to provide our students with credit bearing courses, we must now move forward as a campus.

Even though this is a painful transition for some, the skill and expertise of our faculty will be essential in developing the required courses for the fall. I assure you that together we will be assessing the impact of these changes and ensuring that we are doing everything we can for student success.

I wholeheartedly thank our entire CSUN faculty who are absolutely committed to the success and wellbeing of our students.


Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.
California State University, Northridge

Statement from the ad hoc GE task force

[At the request of the co-chairs, I’m sharing the following statement]

Task Force Statement

Purpose: Recognizing our students’ needs, challenges and goals, the Task Force will make recommendations concerning our GE program that advance student success through quality education while maintaining our cross-cultural competency requirements (Section F of current GE Plan) and aligning with the California Education Code.

Task Force Members: Initially, members were identified and invited by President Harrison. Additional members were identified and invited by the co-chairs in consultation with faculty, staff and students. The goal is to provide balanced representation across stakeholders on campus.

Process and Procedures: The Task Force will engage in transparent, consultative and inclusive processes to develop recommendations. The Task Force honors and respects the Faculty Senate vote to not implement EO 1100 – Revised and EO 1110. Thus, the Task Force is not intended to bypass or sidestep the Faculty Senate vote. The intention of the Task Force is to work creatively and collaborative to find solutions concerning our GE program that address our students’ academic success.

Recommendations from the Task Force will be shared with the CSUN campus community, Faculty Senate, and CSUN administrators.

Timeline: The Task Force intends to make recommendations by the end of spring semester 2018.

Dianne Harrison, President, CSUN
Brian Burkhart, Director and Associate Professor, American Indian Studies, CSUN
Kathryn Sorrells, Chair and Professor, Department of Communication Studies, CSUN

Task Force on General Education Members:
Frankie Augustin, Environmental & Occupational Health
Brian Burkhart, American Indian Studies
Sandra Chong, Elementary Education
Nazaret Dermendjian, Civil Engineering & Construction Management
Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens, History
Jimmy Ghandi, Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Management
Jonathan Goldenberg, Associated Students
Dave Gray, Biology
Barbara Gross, Marketing
Gabriel Gutierrez, Chicana/o Studies
Brittney Harvey, Student
Zahraa Khuraibet, Student
Terri Lisagor, Family Consumer Science
Nakaya Manning, Advisor
Gina Masequesmay, Asian American Studies
Christina Mayberry, University Library
Luiz Mendes, University Library
Elizabeth Reigos, Advisor
Rosa Rivera Furumoto, Chicana/o Studies
Lou Rubino, Health Sciences
Jerry Schutte, Sociology
Kathryn Sorrells, Communications
Jon Stahl, Cinema & Television Arts
Mary Pat Stein, Biology
Kate Stevenson, Mathematics
Jerry Stinner, Dean, College of Science & Mathematics
Adam Swenson, Philosophy
Stella Theodoulou, Vice Provost
Nate Thomas, Cinema & Television Arts
Kaya Tillery, Student
Janet Valenzuela, Student
William Watkins, VP for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
Theresa White, African Studies

Trustee Emeritus Stepanek!

At the November Plenary of the Board of Trustees, our own Steven Stepanek (Professor of Computer Science) was awarded the title of Faculty Trustee Emeritus.

Congratulations, Steven!

He was also honored by the ASCSU at our last meeting, here’s the commendation (link):

Commendation for Faculty Trustee Steven Stepanek


WHEREAS: Faculty Trustee Steven Stepanek has served as Professor of Computer Science at CSU Northridge (CSUN) for 41 years, rising through the ranks from lecturer to full professor; and

WHEREAS: While at CSUN Trustee Stepanek has built an extensive record of service in campus shared governance, including long term service as Chair of the Computer Science Department and on the CSUN Academic Senate and Academic Senate Executive Committee, and two terms as Faculty President and Chair of the Faculty Senate; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek has an equally distinguished record of service in CSU systemwide shared governance, including CSUN Statewide Academic Senator, member of the Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU) Academic Affairs and Academic Preparation and Educational Policies Committees, Chair of the Academic Preparation and Educational Policies Committee, Co-Chair of the Admissions Advisory Council and Chair of the CSU Computer Science/Information Systems Discipline Council; and

WHEREAS: In 2013 California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Trustee Stepanek to the position of Faculty Trustee on the CSU Board of Trustees, and reappointed him for a second term in 2015; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek graciously agreed to continue his service as Faculty Trustee past the end of his second term until Governor Brown appointed a new Faculty Trustee in September 2017; and

WHEREAS: While on the Board of Trustees, Trustee Stepanek served with distinction on several presidential search committees, the Sustainable Financial Model Taskforce and the General Education Task Force; and in recognition of the respect of his Board colleagues, as Chair of the Standing Committee on Institutional Advancement and Vice Chair of the Board Committee on Organization and Rules; and

WHEREAS: While on the Board, Trustee Stepanek also traveled throughout the state more than a few times to attend numerable graduation ceremonies and visit every campus to listen to feedback from students, faculty, staff, and administration; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek has furthered the mission of the CSU by organizing well-attended and well-received conferences and symposia addressing major issues facing higher education, including CSU: The Next 50 Years Conference and Funding the Future of the CSU symposia; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek demonstrated his commitment to students by finishing out his teaching responsibilities through the end of the semester after being appointed to the Board in Fall 2013, and continuing to provide advice to students while serving on the Board; and

WHEREAS: Throughout his tenure in the CSU, Trustee Stepanek has become recognized for his expertise and contributions in the areas of academic technology, course transfer, curriculum and admissions; and

WHEREAS: Even before he was faculty, Trustee Stepanek was called upon by the Chancellor’s Office to use his expertise to solve some of their most perplexing technical problems; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek, as a student, student employee, a classified technical employee, faculty member, Faculty Chair, ASCSU representative for his campus and finally Faculty Trustee, is the embodiment of the phrase “made in the CSU;” and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek’s unique background of experience and education in the CSU provided him with the ability to see issues from a variety of perspectives, particularly that of staff employees who play a critical role in delivering the mission of the CSU, a perspective most others only see from the outside; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek is the epitome of what the CSU, as “The people’s University,” can accomplish when providing a high quality, accessible and affordable higher education that contributes to the rising economic and technological expertise of the citizenry of California; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek’s passions run the gamut from designing fast cars to Walt Disney to the history of trains; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek is a quiet, highly principled individual who many are proud to call friend and colleague; and

WHEREAS: Trustee Stepanek has many interests; but nothing has had a greater impact on his life than his continuing commitment to the CSU; therefore be it

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU express its deep appreciation and respect for Trustee Stepanek and his over four decades of outstanding service to the CSU; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU wish Trustee Stepanek all the best for the future as he drives his Porsche into the sunset to pursue special projects, plan his next road trip and reflect on his many contributions to the CSU.

Approved by Acclamation – November 2-3, 2017

Executive Orders 1100 (revised) and 1110: What’s happened and where things stand

I just noticed that I haven’t posted anything since the October Senate meeting. My apologies for the silence. Things were moving quickly and a lot was happening behind the scenes. Thus let me provide a brief recap of what’s happened concerning Executive Orders 1100 (revised) and 1110. I’ll start with where we are now. For those who are interested, I’ll then rewind back to the October Senate and November Board of Trustees meetings.

Where we are now

EO1100 The Chancellor relented on the elimination of CSUN’s Section F. Here is the letter from EVC Blanchard to President Harrison setting out the terms of the extension:  17-11-21 LJB to Harrison EO 1100 Response v3 . Basically, we have to make some administrative changes to how Section F courses are coded for transfers to other campuses and formalize what we were already doing to ensure we do not violate state law by requiring transfer students to take more units than students who enter as freshmen.

The Chancellor’s Office still expects CSUN to comply with the rest of the revisions to EO1100. The two major issues are requiring students to take 3 units of upper division B (natural sciences) and the loss of upper division section E (lifelong learning). Both sets of changes involve a lot of enrollment (IIRC, there are ~1,500 / year FTES in upper division E; many more will need classes which do not yet exist in upper division B). While the requirements are supposed to be in place by Fall 18, the changes in enrollment patterns will phase in over a few years since they only concern upper-division GE. The Senate decided not to reconsider the decision not to participate in the implementation of the Executive Orders. Thus any of these required changes to our GE program could not be carried out through the normal curricular review process. President Harrison has created a task force of faculty, staff, and students to make recommendations to her on the necessary policy changes.

EO1110 The Chancellor’s Office still expects CSUN to implement the changes mandated by EO1110 (to developmental math and writing) on the original timeline. While that recklessly hasty timeline is likely to cause significant problems on other campuses, CSUN’s faculty had already been undertaking improvements to these programs before the order was issued. The fact that they now coincide with mandated changes in the EO cannot be a reason for preventing these faculty-originated curricular improvements from proceeding through the regular curricular processes. Thus it is likely that we will be compliant with EO1110 on the requisite timeline without ever formally taking action to implement the executive order.

That’s where we are now. Here’s some of what’s happened since my last blog post.

October Senate meeting

The Faculty Senate meeting on 26th October was attended by several hundred students and faculty who passionately demonstrated in support of Section F and urged the Senate not to reconsider its decision not to participate in implementation. If you’re wondering how that many people fit in the usual library basement room, they didn’t: After conversations with the police chief the night before about the unprecedented size of the student protests in the week leading up to the meeting, I decided to move the meeting from the library to the Northridge Center —the largest available venue on campus. I don’t know of any official estimate of the attendance, but the main room was full and the balcony was ~50% occupied. We were also joined by Chris Miller, Chair of the ASCSU.

At the beginning of the meeting, President Harrison announced that Chancellor White had, at the last minute, agreed to allow CSUN to keep section F. After a long and impassioned session of public comment, the Senate voted not to reconsider its decision to not participate in implementation. The Senate then passed this resolution which sets out our grounds for this refusal.

Board of Trustees meeting

Several CSUN faculty members along with several dedicated students traveled to Long Beach for the November Board of Trustees meeting. While they were allowed only a few minutes during the public comment sessions, they were nonetheless forceful advocates for CSUN’s students and values. We should all be proud to have them as colleagues and students.

Here are some of the relevant portions of the meetings:

During the public comment section at the beginning of the Committee on Educational Policy, here are Rosa RiVera-Furumoto (Chicana/o Studies) and Gina Masequesmay (Asian American Studies), Kate Stevenson (Developmental math), and Jennifer Eagan (CFA President and CSUEB Philosophy Professor).

This video also includes a report on the Graduation Initiative which includes a small section on the Executive Orders (designed to technically fulfill the request for discussion of the EOs introduced by now Trustee Emeritus Stepanek at the last meeting) . The questions by the BOT begin at and include the Chancellor’s Office’s response to CSUN’s Senate actions.

At the plenary session on the second day of the BOT meeting, here are comments by former ASCSU Chair Steven Filing (Accounting at CSU Stanislaus) and our own Brian Burkhart (American Indian Studies) followed by several CSUN students interspersed among other speakers: .

Finally, here is ASCSU Chair Miller’s report: Without taking anything away from any of our faculty, administrators, and students’ efforts, I believe her report was crucial in getting the Trustees to take our concerns seriously and put pressure on the CO rather than reflexively defending its actions. (Rhetorical strategy connoisseur’s tasting note:  The smackdown she delivers is crisp, refined, and absolutely delicious.)


Executive orders materials roundup (now with notes on the Senate agenda)

Here’s the agenda for the Senate meeting: senateagenda102617

Here’s an explanatory note of what’s going to happen: Senate agenda explanation

Here’s a companion flowchart:  Flowchart of agenda

In advance of the upcoming Senate meeting, here are many of the relevant documents in one place:


CO = Chancellor’s Office

BOT = Board of Trustees

Executive orders, coded memos, and letters



LJB to Presidents – Presidents EO 1100R EO 1110 Implementation

The CO has decided to allow limited delays in implementation of EO1100R, but not EO1110. As anticipated, campuses need to submit implementation plans and timelines to receive extensions.

The Placement of Students Based on Their Academic Preparation

This describes the first steps for how the multiple-measures based placement will work.

Clarifying Law and Consultation

This is an email from the EVC to Chair Miller in which he defends the CO’s right to impose GE policy. It was issued largely response to my question to him at the plenary about what to tell my Faculty about the consequences of refusing to comply. Professor Hellenbrand responds to the EVC’s memo in Rights of the senate under CA law: an opinion

CSUN actions

Approved EPC charge to EO1100R task force

Non-participation resolution (from September Senate meeting)

Associated Students resolution

Ethnic studies (et al) letter

‘Consultation’ on draft executive orders and responses

LJB to Pres Request for EO 1100 Feedback

CSU Math council response to ASA-2017-14

2017-06-15 Letter to EVCAA Concerning proposed changes to developmental education SIGNED

Memo on consultation over EOs from EVC

There was some consultation on the EOs. Most faculty believe that it was grossly inadequate consultation. The above memo summarizes some of what occurred. (It may make more sense against the background of Chair Miller’s reports).


Ethnic Studies Task Force

This is the final report of the task force convened by Chancellor White to review issues surrounding ethnic studies programs in the CSU

Ethnic Studies Task Force report

Quantitative Reasoning Task Force

The CSU convened a task force to make recommendations on quantitative reasoning education. The report has been cited by the CO to support some of the changes in the Executive Orders.

QRTF report

Blanchard to Miller QR in EO 1100 (1)

This is a letter from EVC Blanchard explaining how the report informed the EOs.

QRTF co-chairs response

This is a response by the co-chairs of the quantitative reasoning task force to the EVC’s letter. They charge that the QRTF report is being misused.

Other CSU campus senate responses

It is clear that EO1100R affects CSUN disproportionately (2 campus have a different problem in that their GE was built around 4 unit courses which the EO requires to be 3 units). Other Senates are upset about the egregious violations of process. No other campus is considering non-compliance. Here are the resolutions which have passed so far:

Campus resolutions

Professor (nee Provost) Hellenbrand’s comments

Rights of the senate under CA law: an opinion

To Hell in a Handbasket: GE and other fiascos

Courses and pathways in the new ge: issues and questions

Statewide Senate and CO responses

ASCSU resolution

CSUCO Responses to ASCSU September 2017

Chair Miller’s presentation to Board of Trustees

Systemwide reports

Faculty Trustee reports

ASCSU Chair reports


The Transfer Maze, The High Cost to Students and the State of California

The Campaign for College Opportunity has presented this report to the BOT. The report identifies a number of issues complicating the transfer process of students from California Community Colleges.

Senator Schutte’s note on ASCSU EO1100 resolution

[The following is some background Senator Schutte promised to send to the Senate after last Thursday’s meeting. He’s given me his permission to share it here]

The Back Story on the ASCSU Resolution Regarding EO 1100 and EO 1110 and its Ramification for the CSUN Review of its Resolution.

In our last Senate meeting, the “question was called” to vote on the then current motion to disregard implementation of EO 1100 and EO1110 (herein known as the “Orders”). This occurred before I had the opportunity to provide information on how the Statewide Resolution concerning these Orders was negotiated and passed. In light of that missed opportunity, I suggested I would distribute a written statement as to why the Statewide Senate did not pass the resolution for rescission and instead opted to pass a resolution to delay and analyze. The result can be gleaned from reading the Statewide Resolution (see statewide minutes, Adam’s Presidents blog or this URL). However, as your statewide senate representative, from whose committee (Fiscal and Governmental Affairs) the resolution was initiated and for which, as a member, I provided the outline for same, I would like to give you the rationale for why this resolution prevailed and the motion, similar to our CSUN senate’s motion to ignore, did not.

The premise on which FGA did not support the rescission resolution was two-fold. First, we felt that faculty needed a seat at the table in dialoguing about the Orders. Simply asking for a rescission and the resulting non-compliance, would have precluded that input. Second we, at FGA, who are charged with following communications between the CSU and Sacramento, understand that the CSU in general and the local campuses, in particular, are often looked at as obstreperous, causing (in particular) the Department of Finance to “tune out” when legitimate requests are forwarded (that is an actual quote from the higher education group at the DOF). Simply ignoring these Orders would have only provided further support for their position. That said, FGA did take exception with many issues presented in the Orders and debated them for several hours. Let me articulate why, as a result, I suggested my reactions to them be incorporated and how that translated into the resolves contained in our resolution.

First, we universally took issue with the timing and lack of consultation for these Orders. The stated rationale was 1) the Chancellor’s Office perception that there was a time constraint issued by the Legislature, and 2) as a result, it required the distribution of these Orders during the summer when faculty were gone. The former was rationalized by the CO in quoting the 2017 Budget Act (AB 97, section 6610.001, 1.4), passed by the Legislature and articulating the need for policy changes by May 2018. The latter was rationalized by the CO’s premise that HEERA (Higher Education Employee-Employer Relations Act) obviates the requirement to consult with faculty on curriculum issues, although they may still voluntarily consult.

Ignoring these two issues by simply saying “no” to their Order’s implementation would prevent us from taking a stand on the underlying CO perceptions. For example, while AB97 does ask for “changes in policy” by May 2018, it does not ask for curriculum changes to be in place by the next academic year. Therefore, it is perfectly logical and reasonable to spend the next year formulating the policy between faculty and the CO, in time to meet the demands of AB97, while not implementing those agreed upon changes until the fall, 2019, which would then give departments time to process any agreed-upon changes. Moreover, while it is the case that the “scope of representation” found in HEERA, section 3562 (2.r.1.C) excludes a meet and confer obligation if the content involves “…the conduct of courses, curricula, and research programs”, it is also true that the Government Code Title I Division 4, Chapter 10, Myers-Milias-Brown Act, Section 3504 (governing public employees) defines the scope of representation to include “…all matters relating to employment conditions and employer-employee relations”. Moreover, the Constitution of the Academic Senate of the CSU (ratified by the Chancellor) calls for the Academic Senate “… be the formal policy-recommending body on systemwide academic…..matters”. Clearly, the debate on this issue needs to be vetted. These Orders are the time and venue in which to do so. Simply dismissing them out of hand precludes this opportunity.

Second, is the issue of costs and resource allocation. While the CO advocates the necessary to “standardize” G.E. requirements, units, coded categories, and pre-requisites, so that seamless transfers between campuses may occur, it is nevertheless the case that each campus has different necessities and requirements. Moreover, far less than 1% of students actually transfer once admitted. That said, and truth be known, it was the Legislative Analyst’s Office when testifying at the Senate and Assembly Higher Education Committee hearings in April, who told them (I am paraphrasing here) “The CSU does not need $75 million for G.I. 2025. Their greatest impediment to increasing graduating rates is their emphasis on remediation courses and the number of freshmen that are being placed in them. The ELM and EPT do not predict academic success in subsequent coursework and using them to place students is suppressing graduation rates. Therefore, we recommend the CSU abandon them, substituting multiple measures as predictors and place students directly into credit enabling courses”. Given that resounding vote of no confidence for GI 2025, by the LAO, it is nothing short of a miracle that the Legislature increased Gov. Browns allocation to the CSU by some $37 million. You may see the exact language the LAO used by simply reading the text in AB97, Section 6610.001 1.4. It was taken almost verbatim from the hearings. That said, to defend against being railroaded, this is the time and these are the Orders that deserve data-driven evaluation, not executive proclamation. I suggest that in exchange for critical dialogue about us supporting their implementation, we can effect their support for an evaluation of these Orders, such that it will not only serve us in vetting this implementation but set the rules for doing so whenever future EO’s are forwarded.

Third, and related to any evaluation is the issue of “unintended consequences”. So often public policy is passed with the best of intentions but with no understanding of the latent dysfunctions or consequences. For example, Proposition 47, in releasing non-violent prisoners in California, intended to reduce the prison population and increase the participation in drug rehabilitation, yet in the two years since its implementation, it has achieved the opposite. It turns out,releasing drug-related convicts does not ensure they will participate in “voluntary” drug rehabilitation.

A similar fallacy is true in these Orders. Causing a student to “bypass” a remediation course does not, despite added funds for tutoring, mean the grad rates will rise. Quite the contrary, it may be the case that DFUs will increase dramatically, causing more repeated classes or dropouts and thereby decrease grad rates. Moreover, to the extent Cultural Studies coursework is systematically uncoupled (from section F) and scattered throughout the G.E. categories, while potentially increasing FTES for these courses, may have the unintended consequence of dismantling the identify fostered through the Cultural Studies Departments who evolved these courses. It is not the FTES or unit completion that matters but the identity of clustering those units that is the issue. We are trying to foster grad rates. One of the biggest correlates of student success in graduating is the sense of community and identification with the campus. Having run the campus climate survey for the past three years, it is evident that underrepresented minorities feel less connected to campus. Therefore, is it any wonder they have lower overall graduation rates? How is the declustering of courses that represent a student’s identity going to function to promote a sense of community and, therefore, increase grad rates? That said, by having a voice at the table, examining resources and costs, while collecting data, and reminding them of the history of our section F, we will have the opportunity to demonstrate the insanity of dismantling student identity with Cultural Studies defined courses.

These are among the reasons Academic Affairs, the committee that had penned the Resolution calling for rescission, deferred to FGA and supported our resolution which was ultimately passed unanimously, but for one abstention. I think we would do well (to use a legal metaphor) to consider the merits of arguing our case rather than to not show up for the hearing. I have had some degree of success in swaying AVCs Blanchard and CFO Relyea on other issues and believe much progress on all manner of generic fronts could be made in negotiating with them, using these Orders as the stimulus context. I hope you agree and modify your vote at the next Senate hearing.

Jerry Schutte, Professor
CSUN Statewide Academic Senator

CSUN faculty take a stand

[Here is the note I sent to the campus and other stakeholders announcing and contextualizing the Senate’s decision.]


CSUN has led the CSU with an innovative GE program that makes cross-cultural competence an essential area of study for all students, exactly on a par with the natural sciences, arts, humanities, and social sciences. Our program was approved, with praise, by the Chancellor’s Office in 2005. We have similarly taught thousands of FTES in upper-division Lifelong-Learning (GE area E), with nary a peep from the Chancellor’s Office.

In two extraordinary moves this summer, the Chancellor upended the curriculum at every CSU on an impossible timeline given campus curricular processes and the multiple responsibilities of every faculty member. With our innovative curriculum, CSUN has been hit particularly hard.

As a Chancellor’s Office staff member admitted on the floor of the ASCSU plenary, there is no pedagogical justification for the changes in EO1100 (revised). The demand for homogeneity between every CSU GE program from Humboldt to San Diego is based in the belief that it is unfair to require a transferring student to learn anything extra when they arrive from a different part of the state.

It is against this background of extraordinary behavior by the Chancellor’s Office that I report the Faculty of CSUN have chosen an extraordinary response.

At its September 28th meeting, the CSUN Faculty Senate, which is the only official voice of the Faculty at CSUN, passed the following motion:

The Faculty Senate of CSU Northridge and its Standing Committees will not participate in the implementation of Executive Order 1100 (revised) and Executive Order 1110.

Any changes to curriculum, including GE, must be approved by the Senate. Proposals to alter the curriculum must come to the Senate from the Standing Committees (including any task forces created under Bylaws V.1.2). Therefore, this decision prevents any action by the Faculty in implementing these Executive Orders.

However, a procedural motion was introduced which effectively freezes the implementation of this decision until the next Senate meeting (on October 26th). At the next meeting, the above motion will be reconsidered as a regular agenda item. If it passes then, the decision is locked in —it cannot be reconsidered during this academic year.



The Chancellor’s Office view on compliance with executive orders

At the last ASCSU plenary, I asked Executive Vice Chancellor Blanchard* what would happen if a campus refused to comply with an executive order so that I could respond accurately if am asked during Senate deliberations.

Here is the email he sent to the ASCSU in response. Obviously, caveat lector:

Decisions regarding curricula and required general education courses are specifically excluded from the scope of representation under HEERA, so implementing a change to general education requirements does not give CFA standing to claim a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The Board of Trustees maintains the power to establish curricula, and may authorize a campus to establish curricula (Ed. Code 40100). The Board has delegated to the Chancellor the authority to establish and oversee all academic programs and issue degrees (BOT Standing Orders). Although we frequently consult with the Academic Senate CSU and the campuses on curriculum issues, there is no requirement to obtain the approval of the Senate prior to implementing changes to general education requirements. Nevertheless, in this case, ASCSU and Academic Affairs Division agreed to the consultation process that was carried out for EO 1100.

Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor
Academic and Student Affairs

For context, a correspondent from the CO sets out their thinking a bit more:

Title 5 gives the Chancellor the authority to establish policy requirements, and faculty create curricula within policy framework. This is a very separate issue from our governance practices, which do involve regular consultation with the senate on ongoing issues and especially in curricular policy development. A strong relationship between Dr. Blanchard and the senate resulted in an agreed-upon consultation process this past March, which you can see in the enclosed memo [ 17-03-15 LJB to C. Miller re EO1100 Memo-1] and in the Chair’s report

In fairness to EVC Blanchard, it is true that they did engage in consultation with members of the ASCSU during the summer prior to issuing the executive orders. Here’s Chair Miller’s report which discusses this:

Thus it is not fair to say that there was no consultation; the appropriate charge is that it was insufficient. Indeed, during the Plenary EVC Blanchard himself said something to the effect that the exigencies of the situation necessitated moving forward with less consultation than he would’ve liked.**

* His position is analogous to the Provost of the CSU system.

** I won’t speculate on what these perceived exigencies were since I don’t have any direct evidence to proffer.

President Harrison’s statement on DACA (with resource links)

Here is President Harrison’s statement on the likely elimination of DACA. It contains several useful links to resources, FAQ’s, and policy.

To the Campus Community:

In my statement to the campus community last week, I advised that I would provide you with updates on DACA as appropriate. Today, we learned that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be eliminated within six months unless Congress acts to institute new legislation. I want you to know that I have joined leaders of colleges and universities across the nation in urging Congressional representatives to help forge a legislative solution that, at a minimum, sustains the existing provisions of DACA.

At CSUN, we are keenly aware and proud of the strength and resilience of our DACA and undocumented students who have found ways to achieve their educational goals in the face of unrelenting adversity. We understand that our institutional identity and vitality depend upon preserving a sense of belonging for all in our community. As I shared last week, CSUN is committed to educating, supporting and protecting all students regardless of immigration status. Today’s action does not diminish that support and commitment. Indeed, as is currently the case, qualified applicants who are undocumented will continue to be admitted to the CSU, and the provisions of AB 540 and the California Dream Act will continue to apply for all eligible students.

I want to once again share important resources. This California State University student website and Frequently Asked DACA-related Questions include vital information on financial aid, work eligibility and legal resources. CSUN has also compiled additional resources and information on this website.

Just last week we officially opened the CSUN Student Legal Support Clinic, which is located on the third floor of the Oviatt Library. In addition to other matters where students may need legal assistance, the free legal clinic is especially prepared to address the unique issues confronting undocumented students. I continue to be grateful for the powerful work being done at the CSUN Dream Center. The Center opened in 2016, and it continues to support the success of our undocumented students while providing resources that are particularly helpful during these challenging times.

I want to reiterate that we do not undertake efforts with federal immigration enforcement authorities to investigate, detain or arrest individuals for violations of federal immigration law. Please remember, any and all inquiries from federal, state or local officials received on campus regarding immigration status should be immediately referred to CSUN’s Department of Police Services (DPS) at (818) 677-2111. DPS will act as a liaison with the on-site officials and will coordinate with the CSU Office of General Counsel to provide guidance, references and resources as available. Please review the document FAQs for California State University Employees about Federal Immigration Enforcement Actions on University Property for further guidance.

Thank you to those of you who have written to me to express your support as we continue to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to maintaining an accessible, safe and welcoming institution for all. I am encouraged and inspired by the many ways you find to support all members of our Matador Family.


Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.


EO1100: Justifying a rushed timeline

If ‘favorite’ meant ‘most enraging’, I’d be torn, but probably vote for #2 in the FAQ’s distributed with EO1100 as my favorite frequently asked question.

Q: Can we delay implementation until fall 2019 to give us more time for the curricular changes we need to carry out?

A: It would be difficult to justify delaying the benefits afforded by these policy changes, which increase opportunities for student success and facilitate efficient degree completion. Student- supportive policy changes include:

  •  Intermediate Algebra is no longer required as the uniform prerequisite for all courses in CSU General Education Breadth Area B4 Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning.
  • Approved GE Area B4 courses may now include non-algebra intensive courses such as game theory, statistics pathways, statistics for majors, computer science and personal finance, for example.
  • Major courses and campus-wide required courses that are approved for GE credit shall also fulfill (double count for) the GE requirement.
  • To facilitate efficient degree completion systemwide, 48 semester units1 is set as both the minimum and maximum for total GE units. Stand-alone one-unit GE laboratory courses may increase the maximum to 49 units. (See question #17);
  • To ensure efficient completion of lower-division certification and transfer from CCC campuses, coupled with efficient degree completion at the CSU, this policy clarifies that the nine units of upper-division GE courses are taught only in Areas B, C and D.

Maybe “it would be difficult to justify” just leaves some wiggle room for the Chancellor’s Office to magnanimously grant more time down the road after it’s clear that campuses have dropped all their current student success initiatives and other priorities to focus on curriculum.

But that wouldn’t be the, ahem, bold and audacious leadership we’ve come to expect. Thus I’m reading this literally: The folks behind EO1100 genuinely struggled but could not come up with a justification. Despite their best efforts, the benefits just…seemed…too….great.

Fortunately, I teach ethics and value theory. The structure of these kinds of justification is right up my alley. So, I’m happy to help:

To justify an action based on its consequences, one needs to look at both the expected harms* and expected benefits. It is indeed difficult to justify anything if one only tots up the expected benefits.

Oh, and remember, we are talking about the imposed timeline. In this instance, it is not the changes that you need to justify, it’s the speed with which they are made. Sloppy, rushed curricular processes can lead to patchy or incoherent curriculum. That’s bad in itself. It’s particularly bad when accredited programs depend on GE to cover certain content.

See how useful consultation is? If anyone at the CO would like to share the models and projections they used to make this decision, I can be even more helpful….

In fact, here’s a bonus pro-tip: efficiency is a property of systems. Individuals can benefit from efficient systems. But switching back and forth between the two sorts of values in justification is a recipe for moral travesty.**

* Note that in this value system, students are harmed by learning things that aren’t required by the curriculum.

** See Part IV of Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons, or at least some of the explainers on Repugnant Conclusion, the Mere Addition Paradox, and, IIRC, Hell III.

EO1100: Update

It appears we have an agreement with the Chancellor’s Office (the CO) which averts the crisis facing the ethnic studies departments, gender and women’s studies, queer studies, and other departments with heavy enrollment in area F of GE.

It looks like we will be able to come into compliance with EO1100 by removing F without harming departments/programs with heavy enrollment in it. It looks like we can do this without diluting FTES in departments who teach in areas C (Arts and Humanities) and D (Social Science).

However, nothing is a done deal until it has been passed by the Senate and signed by President Harrison. It will take a great deal of effort to make sure this works. But I’m cautiously breathing a small sigh of relief over what would’ve been catastrophic implications of EO1100’s proscription of section F.

That relief cannot last for long. EO1100’s prescriptions in area E (lifelong learning) still look likely to do terrible, though probably not existential, damage to many departments across the university. HHD seems likely to be hardest hit.

The danger has not passed. A patchy or incoherent curriculum harms our students. I cannot believe that is what the Legislature intends for us to provide. Yet it is what EO1100 still threatens. I know we will rise to the challenge; if only because we must.

Before we jump into the next challenge, I want to acknowledge that the agreement over F is the result of an extraordinary effort by many people at CSUN and their allies.

To their credit as leaders, Chancellor Tim White and Executive Vice Chancellor Loren Blanchard were willing to change their minds and pursue a solution. They worked closely with President Dianne Harrison, Provost Yi Li, and AVP Elizabeth Adams to hash out an agreement based in part on an idea suggested by Sheena Mahotra (Gender & Women’s Studies) and Scott Andrews (American Indian Studies).

Until yesterday, there was no indication that we would receive any accommodation from the CO. When EO1100 was issued, the CO knew the effects on our programs. They calculated that the benefits of easily transferring between campuses outweighed the harms. Thus a great deal of the credit for changing their calculus must go to activism by faculty, administrators and staff, students, and allies.

This debacle has revealed a clear path for protecting ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies, queer studies, and similar programs across the entire CSU:

Convince legislators the Board of Trustees to include CSUN’s GE section F (Comparative Cultural Studies/Gender, Race, Class, and Ethnicity Studies, and Foreign Languages) in Title 5.

CSUN’s successful experience with redistributing units from other areas of GE shows that this can be done without increasing the total unit load. Let us be the laboratory of the State.

Here, for posterity, is how we’ve been doing it: General Education


Important update: In the original post I recommended convincing the legislature about changing Title 5. I’ve since learned that Title 5 is Trustees policy. It is thus administrative law, not the sort made by the legislature. Legislators can be our allies. But they are not the people who would have to be convinced. Sorry for the error.

Update from the Provost on EO1100

Here is an email from Provost Li which clearly and accurately sets out the situation EO1100 has put us in.

Dear Faculty and Extended Cabinet,

On August 23, the Chancellor’s Office issued Executive Order 1100 relating to the CSU General Education Breadth requirements.  This policy supersedes the E.O. issued in 2015 with the goal of clarifying requirements; ensuring equitable opportunity for student success; and to streamline graduation requirements.   In the most simple terms, this E.O. regulates the content (units and subject areas) across the system to ensure transferability of GE courses from one campus to another.  To accomplish this, the E.O. is quite prescriptive about what sections GE may include and how many units each section will contain.

These changes, however, put CSUN into a uniquely challenging position.  We’ve always had an additional section of G.E., Comparative Cross-Cultural Studies (or section “F”) that supports the campus commitment to inclusive and interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge.  Our ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies, and cultural studies departments and programs feature prominently in our offerings in this section.

Under the E.O. we cannot maintain a separate section “F” and be in compliance with this E.O. or Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.  We need to create a new plan to maintain CSUN’s commitment to ethnic, gender, and cultural studies while also coming into alignment with the system requirements.  This will take all of us to accomplish.  One possibility is an “overlay” structure where current “F” courses are moved into the appropriate extant G.E. section (some might go in “D” social sciences; some might go in “C” arts and humanities).  CSUN could require students to take 6 units in courses certified as meeting a diversity requirement within the other sections of G.E.

We are working with our faculty senate and the chancellor’s office on potential solutions that will meet the E.O. and maintain CSUN’s commitment to serve our students and region with courses that develop the knowledge and competencies need by well-educated CSUN graduates who will live in and serve our communities.  We are working very hard to maintain our commitment to cultural competency in our curriculum and comply with the intent and the requirements of the E.O.

The new E.O. is not what anyone at CSUN wanted.  When President Harrison received a draft version of the E.O., she provided swift and immediate feedback indicating the challenge at CSUN.  I did the same thing when I received the draft.  President Harrison additionally advocated for CSUN’s model and values in person, and asked for more time to make the changes, should they become necessary.

Again, let me restate our unwavering commitment to educating our students in all the ways that are necessary for them to understand the current world.  We need to work together to do what’s required of us and best for our students in moving forward.  I ask for your help.

Yi Li

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

My days have been consumed by EO1100. Thus I can attest to the unwavering commitment and passion with which President Harrison and Provost Li have been fighting to protect CSUN’s programs.

EO1100: Alternatives

We will probably need to be able to offer alternatives to the revised EO1100.

Update: Our task in (2) will be helped if we can proffer potential compromises which promote the CO’s desire for uniformity. I will try to capture these here:

For example, the CSU Ethnic Studies Task Force acknowledged CSUN’s leadership in institutionalizing support for ethnic studies. Thus a plausible alternative would build CSUN’s model into the systemwide requirements.


Executive Order 1100: Not just us

I circulated the earlier post on Executive Order 1100 to my statewide colleagues. I’ll be cataloging some of the impacts they are feeling on their campuses here.

Please keep in mind that campuses are all getting our heads around the implications —today seems filled with emergency meetings with Provosts. I will update these as things change

CSU Monterrey Bay

At CSUMB, faculty are shocked and dismayed at the implications of the EO1100 revisions – most of our queer studies, women’s studies, cultural studies courses will be cut, since they are 4 unit classes.

Lecturers and dept chairs have asked me what this means for our curricula and for their workloads – and for our underrepresented students, most of all.

Just one example:
One lecturer, who teaches most of our queer studies classes, has informed me his 4-unit GE classes will now be downsized to 3 units, and he will lose nearly half his workload, since there are no other classes available to fulfill his 3-year entitlement.

Not only this, but he will be tasked with the unpaid work (no small task) of redesigning his curricula for the new 3-unit GE classes. In short: a significant loss of work (and salary) in tandem with a concomitant workload increase (unpaid) in course reconfiguration.


Fresno State has the same problem. We required 3 additional upper level units on diversity and multiculturalism, and those have now been effectively abolished. Even our administration here did not seem to know this was coming. Wild.

Basically everyone else

The imposed timeline is highly problematic if not impossible. At several campuses, high priority curricular reforms, program development, and student success initiatives will take a backseat to complying with EO1100.

Executive Order 1100 undermines cultural competency education at CSUN

The Chancellors Office has ordered changes to general education which eviscerate ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies, queer studies, and others at CSUN.

In an attempt to standardize general education across the CSU and prevent students who transfer between campuses from having to take extra units, Loren Blanchard has mandated changes in how many units may be in each area of GE (and the distribution of units between upper and lower division). This will harm our students and have far reaching effects on our curriculum. One of the most egregious is that while CSUN has been unique in the CSU by requiring cultural studies as part of GE (part F) for ~12 years, that is no longer allowed.

I will use this space for further explanations and updates. There will likely be many. I expect that Executive Order 1100 will eat up all the time, energy, and goodwill that would’ve been devoted to the Graduation Initiative 2025.

For now, we have three tasks before us:

(1) Figuring out how to minimize the harm in implementing this travesty

(2) Fighting political battles to have the order reversed or revised.

(3) Ensuring that Chancellor Timothy White, Executive Vice Chancellor Loren Blanchard, and Strategist James T. Minor never escape the stain of the losses they have inflicted on the future students of CSUN, their communities, and their employers.

In service of (3), let me close by sharing the brief note I sent to Loren Blanchard last night.

To: Loren Blanchard, Executive Vice Chancellor
CC: Tim White, Chancellor

Dear Loren,

The revisions to EO 1100 eviscerate CSUN’s ethnic studies departments.

I leave it to my administrative colleagues to demonstrate this.

After working throughout the day to understand the implications and the options, I am embarrassed that I can contribute only what, through the shock, is, I suppose, a broken heart.

I will do my utmost to stanch the bleeding. But please know that my task is to find a way to preserve within an already crowded structure that which was won inch by inch.

Thank you,


Adam Swenson, Ph.D.
Faculty President



Update: I will try to keep track of what I hear from other campuses here:

Update [30 August]: It appears President Harrison and Provost Li have worked out an agreement with the Chancellor’s Office which remedies the horrible implications of EO1100 for the affected departments.

LAO’s analysis of the Governor’s May Revise: Read it and weep

The Legislative Analysts Office has released its analysis of the Governor’s May Revise proposal.

The 2017-18 Budget: Analysis of the May Revision Education Proposals

I’ve posted the CSU portion below so you can read it and join me in weeping (though not sobbing or bawling)….
[for some reason, copying the text from the pdf omitted a few letters here and there like ‘ff’ or ‘th’; apologies for the gaps I missed]
California State University (CSU) Funding Up From January Levels by $121 Million, Primarily Due to Recognizing Tuition Increase. Under the May Revision, combined CSU funding from the two sources is $121 million (2 percent) higher than in the Governor’s January budget. is consists of $135 million in higher tuition revenue offset by a $15 million decline in state General Fund support. As compared with the revised 2016-17 level, CSU funding in 2017-18 is $247 million (4 percent) higher. Under the May Revision, CSU’s combined General Fund and tuition revenue reaches $6.8 billion in 2017-18. Below, we describe and assess the May Revision proposals for CSU.

Spending Changes

Revises Base General Fund Increase Downward by $15 Million. …this reduction results from two adjustments. Under the May Revision, CSU receives an unrestricted base increase of $153 million rather than $157 million. ( This $4 million drop could be framed in many ways, including being conveyed as an adjustment to reflect higher Cal Grant costs due to CSU’s tuition increase. The administration, however, links the drop to its proposal to keep private Cal Grant awards at their current level rather than cutting them as previously scheduled.) The May Revision also adjusts CSU’s General Fund support downward by $11 million to reflect recently revised state contribution rates for CSU pensions.

Provides $2 Million From Transportation Special Fund. Pursuant to Chapter 5 of 2017 (SB 1, Beall), the May Revision appropriates $2 million from the State Transportation Fund to CSU for transportation research and transportation-related workforce training and education.

Assessment and Recommendations

Under May Revision, CSU Has Sizeable Unrestricted Base Increase. In March 2017, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase for resident and nonresident students. is increase, which is scheduled to take effect in fall 2017, will generate net revenue of about $95 million in 2017-18 ($135 million in gross revenue less about $40 million that CSU intends to use for tuition discounts and waivers for certain students). When combined with the $153 million unallocated ongoing General Fund augmentation included in the May Revision, CSU would have $248 million (4 percent) in additional unrestricted base resources in 2017-18 compared with the current year.

Administration Does Not Earmark Any of Increase for Enrollment Growth. CSU has indicated that it intends to use the additional unrestricted monies to address a number of its priorities, including using (1) $139 million to fund collective bargaining agreements that were approved by the Board of Trustees last spring, (2) $26 million to cover basic cost increases (such as higher health care premiums for employees), and (3) $75 million for the system’s Graduation Initiative (primarily to make available more courses to current students). CSU has indicated that without additional funding from the state (beyond the amount proposed in the May Revision), it does not intend to fund enrollment growth in 2017-18.

Recommend Approving May Revision Funding Level but Setting Expectation for Enrollment Growth. In The 2017-18 Budget: Higher Education Analysis, we note that CSU has reported denying admission in recent years to some eligible transfer students. Given this development, together with statute that requires CSU to prioritize transfer applicants, we continue to recommend the Legislature signal to CSU that increasing transfer enrollment is a priority. Thee Legislature could send this signal by adopting provisional language that sets an enrollment target for new transfer students. An expectation of 2 percent enrollment growth in the budget year would result in about 7,200 more FTE transfer students being served, which we estimate would allow CSU to accommodate all or virtually all transfer applicants in 2017-18. Under our recommendation, costs for CSU to serve these students, which we estimateat about $60 million (after factoring in about $20 million in net tuition revenue generated by the additional students), likely would come at the expense of CSU’s Graduation Initiative. Given the opportunities we have identified for CSU to reform its assessment practices and make available more course slots by reducing excess units, we believe CSU can make significant progress on improving student outcomes without funding set aside for the Graduation Initiative in the budget year.

USU Directors discussion of CSUN Faculty Senate resolution on support for undocumented students

It is my pleasure to share this excerpt from the University Student Union Board of Directors minutes, courtesy of Director Hammond:

Institutional Support of and Protection for Undocumented Students at CSUN – CSUN Faculty Senate Resolution

Director Ruelas-Bischoff discussed the Institutional Support of and Protection for Undocumented Students at CSUN resolution from the Faculty Senate. She noted that the campus has been engaged in several discussions focused on responding proactively to the national rhetoric and policy concerns under the current administration. The resolution that was passed by the Faculty Senate refocuses on the faculty perspective and how the campus, as a whole, can support undocumented students. Some examples within the document are as follows:

  • Increased support for the Dream Center.
  • Increased support for scholarship funds that support undocumented students.
  • Privacy and steps that should be taken in response to requests for information regarding the immigration status of CSUN students and community members.

Director Ruelas-Bischoff stated that the overall interest of campus leadership is to examine what additional steps should be taken to be proactive in responding to the national climate on immigration in support of students. Several members of the campus community have been meeting regularly with campus leadership to discuss these immigration reform policy issues and how to increase support for the needs of undocumented students.

Several members of the Board expressed their excitement for the Faculty Senate Resolution and stated the importance of students being supported by the faculty and staff. There was also enthusiasm for discussions about the Dream Center gaining more attention and financial assistance to continue its programs and services to students. Questions were raised as to how the campus would handle requests for cooperation from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) in identifying the immigrant status of students. There also were concerns about how the campus would protect students’ privacy and comply with privacy laws and immigration laws, and how the campus could prepare for the backlash in refusing to provide specific student information also was questioned. The campus and the system-wide chancellor’s office is working to address these concerns, several of which have also been outlined by our campus president and can be found on her website. The campus will continue to work through the potential situations and the consequences that could arise and examining how to support students through these processes. Many of the members thanked the Faculty Senate and the campus for recognizing the need to address the issues and support undocumented students.

USU BOD Minutes 04-10-17_ExtractedPage7

I think I can safely say that the Senate looks forward to continuing to work closely with other campus entities in protecting all of our students in these uncertain times.

CSUN and the recent auditor’s letter on MPP hiring

You’ve probably heard about a recent audit which found that hiring of administrators outpaces faculty hiring. From the LA Times’ report

The audit, titled “California State University: Stronger Oversight is Needed for Hiring and Compensating Management Personnel and for Monitoring Campus Budgets,” specifically found that between fiscal years 2007-08 and 2015-16, the number of full-time equivalent “management personnel” — which includes administrators, supervisors and other professional staff — grew by 15%. Over the same period, the number of faculty rose by 7%, while non-faculty support staff rose 6%.

The audit found that the six campuses it reviewed could not justify the growth in new management personnel. One campus, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, increased pay for at least 70 management personnel in 2016 who either had outdated performance evaluations or no evaluations on file.

President Harrison had Human Resources compile the growth rates for CSUN. From her email to me:

CSU audit system-wide finding related to MPP growth from FY 2007/08 to FY 2015/16:

  • MPP = 15%
  • Faculty = 7%
  • Staff = 6%

CSUN data for the same time period:

  • MPP = 5.2%
  • Faculty = 18%
    • Tenure/Tenure-Track = 53.3%
    • Lecturers = -7.6%
  • Staff = 4.7%
    • Represented Staff = 5.1%
    • Non-Represented Staff = -7.8%

[Updated 21 May 2017]

Here’s the original letter from the auditor:

Here’s Chancellor White’s response:

Mascot history and background

I’ve long wondered about our mascot and it’s association with, well, what matadors do. Apparently, someone wrote to President Harrison with similar questions. I was copied on the response, which I found interesting and helpful. I thus though I’d share it here (with minor edits to make it look a bit less like a letter):

The Matador was adopted as CSUN’s official mascot in 1958 by a vote of the student body. The Matador was partly selected because it reflects the Spanish and Latin roots of the local Southern California region. Over the years, the mascot has become integral to the institution’s history and traditions, particularly our athletics program. More recently, the mascot has gained spontaneous momentum of its own through the number of student organizations and groups that use the identity. In 1994, students reaffirmed their support of the Matador as the University’s official mascot by an overwhelming majority.

We are aware of the controversial aspects of the matador and bullfighting. Over the years, we have downplayed and removed any suggestion of violence related to the mascot. No explicit representations of violence against bulls are ever used in association with the figure or image. Several years ago, for example, we removed a sword that used to be part of one of the Matador visual images.

When we commissioned the Matador statue, which was unveiled in 2011, the process was an opportunity to reach out to students, faculty, staff, and others who might have cause to be sensitive to the identity. Partly as a result of that consultation, in providing guidance to prospective artists, we asked for the piece to emphasize the beauty and grace related to the balletic movements of the matador, and to exclude any suggestion of violence. We believe the courage and grace embodied in this type of representation are positive qualities worth emphasizing as they relate to our mission and goals in service to our students. In addition, in many countries and regions, the practice of killing the bulls, or the sport itself, has been outlawed.

We recognize that the image of the matador is not easily separated from the history and realities of bullfighting. We believe, however, that we have found a way to preserve the Matador identity and to respect the wishes of our students and alumni in a way that does not celebrate or endorse violence, particularly against animals, in any way. Our current student body, which is 46% Latino, and our active alumni support our use of the Matador mascot and retain great affection for it as part of the CSUN identity.

We respect your views and feelings on this matter, and hope this letter shows the efforts that have been taken to consult with and respect the wishes of the broader campus community on this issue.

CSUN students take first place at Chapman University Datafest

Passing this along from an email I received from a colleague. Congratulations to our students and their faculty mentors!

Over the weekend a team of five students from CSU Northridge took first
place at the Chapman University “Datafest”. A “Datafest” is a regional,
intensive event where student teams from many Universities analyze a
large dataset and present their findings to a set of esteemed judges.
Annual “Datafests” were initiated at UCLA several years ago, and having
since been fully embraced by the American Statistical Association, are
now held at multiple universities across the nation. Typically a
company provides both actual (but anonymized) data to the Datafest
host/venue and also several, general, high-level, research questions of
interest. For more information on the Chapman University “Datafest”
competition, see:

The five CSUN students (the “Mean Squares”) who competed over the
weekend were:

Seyed Sajjadi (Computer Engineering, Team lead)
Matthew Jones (Computer Science)
Ian Postel (Computer Science)
Collin Miller (Computer Science)
Jamie Decker (Art)

Five victorious csun students hold up certificates and medals in a hotel conference room

Victorious CSUN students

It should be noted that not only did our students achieve success at the highest
level, they competed with strong teams from other universities such as
CSU Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, and USC.

For this particular “Datafest”, the students analyzed corporate-level
“big data” from the travel site “Expedia”. The dataset contained
approximately 10 million data points with information related to clicks,
searches, and bookings.

The judges were senior faculty and industry executives. The judges
indicated that the work done by the CSUN team was “incredible”. CSUN’s
team won “Best Insight” and “Best Overall”.

Our students’ 1), preparatory planning and vision; 2), ability to
navigate nuanced, technical questions and analytic, technology-based
queries; 3), skilled acumen with various statistical learning
methodologies and “data science” software tools; and 4), deep attention
to focused results are extraordinary and exemplary.

Your help needed; response rates for the Student Survey on Sexual Assault/ Sexual Misconduct Prevention survey

I’m posting the following on behalf of Senator Schutte and the folks doing this important work.

Please help; if we don’t know what is going on, we cannot fix it. 

I write to once again solicit your help in making the Campus Climate Student Survey on Sexual Assault / Sexual Misconduct Prevention, a success.  As you may know, this survey is required by the Department of Education.  To date, we are significantly behind our 2015 response rate numbers.  Therefore, I would request that this week you not only remind the students in each of your classes to participate in this important data collection, but that you further the effort with some incentive for them doing so.  This could be extra credit, a contest (to see who can get the most students to participate), or other meaningful reward.   The link to the survey is contained in the February 13th and 24th letters sent to students by President Harrison. 

Thanks in advance for helping in this campus wide effort.

President Harrison’s Op-Ed: On sexual assault prevention, a message to Devos from universities

Kudos to President Harrison for this LA Daily News editorial pressing Secretary DeVos on campus sexual assault policy:

With the confirmation of new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who has not yet stated her support for the 2011 Title IX language about the role of colleges and universities to prevent sexual assaults, it is more important than ever for all institutions of higher education to send a clear signal to Washington, D.C., that we will not and cannot retreat from the progress made in combating sexual violence on our campuses.

In recent years, universities and colleges across the country have adopted new measures to tackle the issue of sexual assault. At California State University, Northridge, we have taken a comprehensive and holistic approach to address campus sexual assault to be responsive to the needs of our diverse community. This is not something from which we or any campus should retreat, no matter what the U.S. Department of Education under the new administration may propose.

I am pleased with the legislative support and spotlight placed on the rights and protections for victims of sexual assault in recent years. Even with these gains, sexual assault remains grossly underreported on a national scale. Those who have been the target of sexual assault or sexual misconduct deserve support…..

Read the whole thing:


10 Ways to Support Students Facing Immigration Crises

This article from Inside Higher Ed looks helpful:

10 Ways to Support Students Facing Immigration Crises
Anita Casavantes Bradford, Laura E. Enriquez and Susan Bibler Coutin offer advice to faculty members and administrators.

Black History Month Celebration

I tried sending this to everyone the other day, but the attachment caused it to bounce from some of the subsidiary listserves.

Here’s the Event schedule (the link is to a file in a public Box folder, fingers crossed it works.)

Here’s the email announcement from Chair Theresa White:


Please join us as we celebrate Black History Month. See attached calendar. Our theme this year is: Africana Studies 360º – Black Synergy.

Please consider offering extra credit to your students to incentivize attendance. Help us spread the word!

I look forward to seeing you!

Warm regards,

Dr. Theresa White

I hope to see you at many of these events.

BOT meeting

If you want to watch the forces which shape the CSU in action, I bring you the Board of Trustees Jan 31-Feb 1 meeting livestream:

If you are not used to this level of excitement, I recommend titrating up by starting with having it on in the background while you work. To deal with the random moments of terror that come with realizing how little our trustees understand about the CSU and its students, just think of it as a slowly plotted horror film.

Here’s the full agenda in pdf:

Pro tip: Don’t try reading the agenda unless you have insomnia. Use your pdf reader’s find function to search for terms of interest. I usually start with CSUN related stuff (e.g., ‘CSUN’, ‘Northridge’, ‘Harrison’) and then check in on things like GE, fees, and other more parochial matters.

I’d also recommend glancing at the items where the BOT approves settlements of lawsuits. It fosters a sense of empathy for our colleagues in risk management and provides insight into the landscape our administrators see themselves as navigating.