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A magazine from California State University, Chico -- On-line Edition  
Fall 2006
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From the President’s DeskPresident Zingg, photo by Jeff Teeter

Maintaining Excellence in Difficult Times

As we are all painfully aware, our country is in the throes of a recession the likes of which few of us have ever experienced. No one and no institution are immune from its ill effects, which include anger and confusion about its causes and uncertainty about how long these trying economic conditions and their harsh social consequences will continue.

California’s situation is particularly acute. The state faces a $42 billion budget deficit. The prescription for its elimination includes higher taxes and decreased spending. And a lot of hope that the economy will turn around much sooner than the sobering indicators suggest that it will.

We at the University, of course, cannot wait for a turnaround. We have students to teach, a workforce to employ, and a mission to fulfill. Now.

We have people who count on us to deliver services and to provide an affordable, accessible higher education opportunity. Now.

We have a region and a state that depend on what our students learn and how their talents and skills translate into economic recovery and growth. Now.

Yet, for the second consecutive year, the funds that the University receives from the state General Fund will be severely reduced. In 2008–2009, we planned for a 5 percent cut, about $7 million. We expect a similar reduction in 2009–2010. We will also be cutting our enrollments by about 3 percent (that is, about 500 full-time equivalent students) to comply with the CSU Board of Trustees policy to align systemwide enrollments with state support.

To balance our campus budget, we will scale back operations and services. None of these choices are easy. Professional travel will be curtailed; the availability of courses will be reduced; salaries will be frozen; many open positions will remain unfilled; and both major and minor capital projects will be delayed. Our focus during this difficult period, though, will remain as it has always been: to achieve academic quality, to foster student success and progress to degree, and to protect our faculty and staff workforce as best as we can.

We will also not cease to communicate to state leaders the case for higher education, to emphasize that what happens at Chico State is an investment in the state’s future. Our vital educational institutions provide a foundation for the knowledge-based global economy of the 21st century, just as they foster democratic engagement, encourage altruism and community service, promote environmental stewardship, enable a healthier population, and build a more sustainable future.

I encourage all of our alumni and friends to stand by the University in these difficult times. I invite you to join us in getting the message to our elected officials in Sacramento that the 3,000 students whom we graduate each year, the 90,000 whom the CSU graduates, are the lifeblood of our state and the impetus for economic growth. Thank you.

—Paul J. Zingg, President