Mustang Daily Staff Report
After months of searching, the California State University (CSU) system will finally have a new chancellor in Timothy White.
CSU announced White — currently the chancellor of University of California, Riverside (UCR) — as the new system chancellor on Thursday ending a four-month-long search to replace current chancellor Charles Reed, who announced his retirement in May.
“We searched far and wide,” CSU trustee and chair of the search committee Bill Hauck said in a conference call Thursday. “This was a national search and I believe we have arrived at a conclusion that is going to work very well for the California State University system.”
White has served as chancellor at UCR since 2008, during which time he raised enrollment, added the new UC Riverside School of Medicine and announced the new School of Public Policy, according to UCR’s news release on White’s appointment.
UCR Academic Senate chair Jose Wudka has worked directly with White since becoming chair of the university’s academic senate, and described White as “thoughtful and very much concerned in the institution … with no personal agenda.”
Wudka, who has served in his position since the beginning of September, said during his first one-on-one meeting with White, the chancellor left the “best impression possible” on him.
Wudka also worked with White after January protests about tuition raises at UCR pit police against students. White established a task force to examine freedom of speech and assembly with Wudka as its leader. The task force, Wudka said, was a reactive measure by the chancellor to the protests, which escalated to at least one police officer firing a paint-filled bullet into a crowd of students.
“His position, in my interpretation, is there are certain circumstances where police is needed but there should be a clear line of command,” Wudka said. “And that line of command should not be through police, but it should be by the chancellor.”
The UCR protests came just two months after police used pepper spray to clear out protesters at a CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach. The protests were the result of a trustee vote to raise student tuition by approximately $500.
White’s own experience at UCR equipped him for the larger challenge of leading the CSU, he said Thursday.
“Our student body at UC Riverside is really a microcosm of the California State University student body,” White said.
Though White said he is saddened to leave UCR, he is also looking forward to guiding the CSU during a time when education is threatened by budget shortfalls, according to the UCR release.
“I feel this is a tremendous opportunity for me to try to do more for higher education in this state, at a time that is both precarious and potentially transformative,” White wrote in a letter to the CSU. “It is an opportunity to affect the futures of some 430,000 CSU students, and those yet to come.”
Reed, who also participated in Thursday’s call, said he couldn’t be more pleased with his replacement.
Reed cited White’s history as a student in colleges across California, studying at both Cal State University, Fresno and University of California, Berkeley, before eventually becoming chancellor of UCR.
“This is a very important job,” Reed said in the conference call. “It’s a big job in California. I’m really pleased and proud that the board has selected somebody that really understands the California State University mission.”
White is set to start his term in late December.
Sean McMinn contributed to this report.