The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees appointed Herbert Carter board chair on Nov. 18 after the resignation Jeffrey Bleich who was named the Ambassador to Australia by the Obama administration on Nov. 18. Governor Schwarzenegger also appointed a new student trustee, Curtis Schlaufman of CSU Fullerton, on Nov. 20.

The Board of Trustees, which develops policy across the 23-campus CSU system, appointed Carter from his vice president position, which he had held since 2008. He has been part of the Board since 2004.

Carter has been involved in the CSU system for 35 years in a variety of administrative positions, according to a press release from the CSU.

The chair is “vital in leading the other trustees and policy direction of the entire board,” said Erik Fallis, media relations for the CSU. Fallis said that Carter has been a strong leader already.

The Board of Trustees, which is composed of 25 members, executes and controls policies across the entire CSU.

“The trustees would see any policy decision from say setting the alcohol policy to say the naming of a building from donations to formal budget requests,” Fallis said. “They are really instrumental when it comes to all those policies.”

The student trustee position, to which Schlaufman was just appointed, holds all the same powers and privileges as the other trustees once they enter their second year of a two-year term. Student trustee terms are staggered and Russel Statham, a masters student in business administration at Fresno State University, is now in his voting year as the student trustee.

Statham said the vote is just a minor part of the position.

“Your vote is a very small component of what it means to be a trustee,” he said. “So many things happen outside of our meetings.”

Outside meetings, sitting on California State Student Association (CSSA) and shadowing administration and faculty members are all duties that Statham said he undertakes. He said that he is confident that Schlaufman will be a good successor.

“Curtis is a very thoughtful person and I think he’ll do a great job representing CSU students,” he said. “I told him it will be one of the most challenging positions that he’ll hold in his life with the budget shortfalls that we face.”

Statham said that Bleich picked a hard time to leave.

“It’s obviously quite bittersweet,” he said. “He was an inspiration to a lot of us and we’re excited for him.”

Bleich, who was a litigation partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson law firm in San Francisco from 1995 through 2009, met President Obama when Bleich was going to Harvard University for his masters in public policy according to the US Department of State Web site. He was also a contributor to President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“But any time you lose a leader there’s going to be an organizational adjustment,” Statham said. “We have a great new chair for our board.”

Cal Poly Provost Robert Koob said that it is too early to tell how Carter is doing in his new position. The policies that the Board of Trustees set are broad and are guidelines under which Cal Poly and the other campuses operate, Koob said.

“The policies effect us day-to-day only in the way it sets boundary conditions,” he said. “A good example is the student fees last summer. Their actions matter, but it is not a direct contact in many ways.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting is in January.

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