CSU asks for comments in review of Sac State president

Comments on Nelsen’s leadership and character must be submitted by Oct. 5


Emily Rabasto - The State Hornet

Sac State President Robert Nelsen addresses a crowd of graduating students during the Spring 2018 graduation ceremony at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. on Saturday, May 19, 2018. Nelsen is currently undergoing a scheduled review of his time at Sac State conducted by the CSU Board of Trustees and Chancellor Timothy White.

Cory Jaynes, news editor

Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen is currently undergoing a scheduled three-year review by the California State University board of trustees which students are able to participate in.

Presidents of CSUs are reviewed by the board of trustees every three years, according to an email from CSU Chancellor Timothy White announcing the review. This is Nelsen’s first time being reviewed as president since he assumed the position on July 1, 2015.

“This process is intended to provide feedback to the board of trustees and the chancellor about the leadership of President Nelsen and the current state of affairs at CSU Sacramento,” White said in the email. “It should also provide information that will further the university’s progress and assist President Nelsen in the leadership of CSU Sacramento.”

According to Noel Mora, president of Sac State’s Associated Students, Inc., anyone wanting to submit comments regarding President Nelsen should pay attention to the criteria the board of trustees is looking for.

The criteria, according to a printout from Mora, consists of general administrative effectiveness including management of human, fiscal and physical resources, working relations with the system and the campus, educational leadership and effectiveness, community relations, major achievements of the campus and the president and personal characteristics.

Members of the Sac State community can submit their comments to the chancellor’s office via email at [email protected] or directly to the chancellor’s office located at 401 Golden Shore, Suite 641 Long Beach, California.

Graphic by Cory Jaynes – The State Hornet

Comments must be submitted by Friday, Oct. 5, and be signed. However, the comments will be kept confidential.

Mora said it was important to get comments from people who saw President Nelsen through a “different lens” in order to construct a more thorough review.

“I think it means everything to have as many comments on this review as possible and that’s just because it provides a much comprehensive sort of assessment,” Mora said. “If the students need help with the process, because maybe something on the criteria doesn’t make sense, ask ASI. If we don’t know the answer we’ll ask the chancellor’s office, but you can come to us for help.”

Along with comments from members of the community, the board of trustees is also soliciting comments from officers and chairs of Sac State’s Faculty Senate, Alumni Association and Associated Students, Inc.

Michael Uhlenkamp, CSU Interim Senior Director, Public Affairs, said that the board of trustees will also consult with community partners including the University Foundation board and the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Faculty Senate Chair Antonia Peigahi said that her comments on Nelsen would be more positive than negative.

“I think certainly the relationship between the president and the faculty senate has been a positive relationship over the past three years,” Peigahi said. “I think there’s obviously things we all need to be attentive of.”

Peigahi shared one example in an introduction she gave in President Nelsen’s Fall Address. Peigahi spoke on the value of shared governance and how Nelsen was passionate for it in his interview for president.

“One candidate stood out to me, they were passionate, articulating the desire to see our students achieve what they can through a high-quality public education,” Peigahi said in her introduction. “They expressed a love of the transformative power of higher education.

“I have watched that gruff, some might say grumpy, passionate leader who lives what he believes and that is that we are part of a collective effort and all responsible for the role of transforming student lives,” Peigahi said.

Rhonda Staley-Brooks, president of the Sac State Alumni Association, said that Nelsen’s regular attendance at Alumni Association meetings had created a positive relationship between the two.

“President Nelsen came to the university and immediately became a member of the Alumni Association board,” Staley-Brooks said. “He hardly misses any meeting, so his attendance and presence is very important to what we’re doing as an alumni association.”

“He’s there to give his reports but also give input on what our goals and objectives are,” Staley-Brooks said. “From my vantage point, it’s unprecedented to have the president sitting at the table.”