Outgoing chancellor: Charles Reed faced controversy, challenges

Reed's impact: Cal State San Bernardino | Cal Poly Pomona | Cal State Long Beach | Cal State Northridge | Cal State Dominguez Hills | Cal State Los Angeles | Cal State Fullerton

Incoming chancellor: Tim White unafraid of challenges ahead


FULLERTON - When Cal State University Chancellor Charles Reed leaves office, supporters say his legacy at Cal State Fullerton will be more buildings and greater student diversity.

For Mildred Garcia, Fullerton's new president who was president at Cal State Dominguez Hills for five years, Reed should be remembered as the chancellor who put student success first.

"He is an amazing chancellor who looked at students' backgrounds and wanted the CSU to provide students the opportunity to come to a CSU campus and reach their highest potential," Garcia said.

For example, Reed went to the African-American and Latino communities and encouraged their children to go to college, she said.

"Look at our diversity of the student body," she said, referring to Fullerton. "We have 32 percent Latinos and 22 percent Asians. The diversity of our student body is a legacy from Chancellor Reed."

Rick Pullen, emeritus professor of communications and dean of the College of Communications from 1995-2011, agreed.

"Because of some of his efforts, the campuses and especially Fullerton have become very diverse," Pullen said.

Reed used to go into black churches and encourage young people to continue their education, said Pullen.

"I've always applauded this diversity," he said. "It's the future of California. We have to look to what we used to call the minority students to be the future leaders and responsible taxpayers."

During Reed's tenure, Fullerton provided more counseling and other help to encourage students to succeed, Pullen said.

But some see Reed's legacy as more negative.

"I think his legacy is one where we're expected to do more with less," said Jarret Lovell, vice president of the Fullerton chapter of the California Faculty Association.

"It's a legacy of someone who has not been an advocate or champion of public education," said Lovell, also associate professor of criminal justice.

Lovell complained that Reed was too accepting of budget cuts that led to larger class sizes and tuition increases.

"We're supposed to be a public university, not a private one, and yet if you look at the contribution of state funds vs. student out-of-pocket expenses, a greater percentage comes from the students."

Tony Fellow, a professor of communications for the last 27 years at Fullerton, defended Reed.

"He showed great leadership in a state that lacks leaders," said Fellow, whose wife works for Reed.

"When you have a legislature you have to deal with - they were rude to him when they dealt with the budget issue - he just sucked it in and represented the university," he said.

Diana Guerin, professor of child and adolescent studies at Fullerton and chairwoman of the statewide Academic Senate, said it's hard to separate the contributions of a chancellor from the campus president.

"(But) he worked with the campus leadership to move a number of building projects through the system," Guerin said.

The new Kinesiology and Health Science Building was completed in 2003, the 109,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center opened in January 2006 and the Steven G. Mihaylo Hall, home of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, opened in fall 2008.

Also completed in 2008 was the Student Recreation Center. A new $143 million residence hall complex opened in summer 2011.

Under Reed, Fullerton became the largest campus of the 23 in the system with nearly 35,000 students.

Barry Pasternack, who also represents Fullerton in the statewide Academic Senate, said Reed had a different approach than past chancellors. 

"I would characterize Reed's tenure as having a more top-down approach to the 23 campuses than in the past," said Pasternack, also emeritus professor of information systems and decision sciences.

Reed's perception was that there was a university with 23 branches, he said.


mike.sprague@sgvn.com

562-567-7537