Dr. Joseph I. Castro, who became California State University (CSU) chancellor in January of this year, is embarking on a virtual tour of the 23-campus system – and CSUDH had the honor of being his first stop on Feb. 19. The jammed packed day of meetings and introductions allowed the new chancellor to get to know the campus community and the broad impact the Toro Nation has on the region.
CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham and First Lady Davida Hopkins-Parham welcomed Chancellor Castro and his wife, Mary, during his first of 11 Zoom sessions that took place throughout the day.
During his morning meetings, Castro met with the president’s cabinet, the Academic Senate, Associated Students, Inc., the Loker Student Union, and Presidential Scholars, alumni, and external stakeholders to learn about the university’s successes and its most pertinent issues.
After spending lunch with President Parham and the cabinet, Castro virtually sat down with campus union representatives, the Philanthropic Foundation board of directors, and the CSUDH Foundation.
“I appreciate the opportunity to visit CSU Dominguez Hills today. I have wanted to learn more about your campus, but have not had the chance to visit,” said Castro during the Campus Open Forum toward the end of his day. “I’m looking forward to visiting one day soon, but it has been an incredible learning experience for me so far.”
CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro met with a variety of external stakeholders during his CSUDH visit: Alumnus and Lynwood Councilmember Jose Luis Solache; Los Angeles Chamber Board President Maria Salinas; Compton College President Keith Curry; El Camino President Dena P. Maloney; Brotherhood Crusade President Charisse Bremond Weaver; Los Angeles Sentinel Executive Editor Danny Bakewell, Jr.; Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation CEO Bill Allen; and Urban League President Michael Lawson.
The open forum provided an opportunity for the chancellor to hear from the campus community. He took a number of questions on such issues as budget allocation, mental health and wellness, supporting non-tenured faculty, and such controversial topics as campus police funding and decreasing student tuition during the pandemic.
Regarding tuition, Castro said, “I am happy that our tuition has remained largely flat over the last 10 years with just one year when it went up. We will not raise tuition next year and will continue to be one of the best values in the entire country,” he explained.
“Having said that, I know that students are suffering,” he added. “That is why emergency grants that are coming through the state and the federal government will help, and why the philanthropic efforts to get more funding for scholarships, food security programs, and housing security programs are so important.”
Chancellor Joseph Castro took time to field questions from local media outlets. Zooming into the session were the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Sentinel, NBC-4, ABC-7, and KTLA-5.
To cap the day, the chancellor regrouped with the president and his cabinet and other CSUDH administrators to learn more about the university’s points of pride.
“It makes me so proud to know what’s happening here under the bold leadership of President Parham. I have felt the excitement and energy in every single meeting,” Castro said during the Open Forum. “While I know there are challenges, I’m so proud of what has happened on the campus and the partnerships that have been developed are very impressive. I think the future is very bright.”