On June 1st this year, our school, Cal State Fullerton will have a new president, Dr. Mildred Garcia. Although it’s said that change is a good thing, many students are worried that with this change will come increased tuition, unmet school needs, etc. However, many people don’t think we should be so worried. According to the Orange County Register, Garcia steered the students at Dominguez Hills (where she is currently president), strive past the state budget cuts and produced high graduation rates, increased enrollment and increased fundraising. A woman who has proved her efficiency should be trusted right? The question is debatable.
Dr. Garcia has been president of Cal State Dominguez Hills since 2007. Before then she has worked as a professor and in administration in several colleges and universities in Arizona, New York, and New Jersey. She received her doctorate degree in Education from Columbia University and is the first Latina president in the history of the CSU system (I know that fact in itself is enough to want to make our fellow Latino students yell out a grito of pride, but let’s not jump for joy just yet).
Because of her roots and upbringing, Garcia now sits on educational boards such as the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education and was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence of Hispanic Americans. After it was announced that she would be the new president, Garcia stated that some of the goals she has for the CSUF are to expand student diversity and to promote undergraduate research. See? She is just trying to make the school better and have more Latinos in it. What is wrong with that? Well for one, Cal State Fullerton is already one of the most diverse campuses in the state and second, where is the money for undergrad research going to come from? Is tuition going to be raised for that as well?
Speaking about dinero, the salary that Dr. Garcia will be receiving as the new president is just ridiculous. I know that she will have many responsibilities and much stress but c’mon $324,500?? No wonder my fellow students are complaining about the change! And not only did our tuition increase this past semester, but the CSU is estimating that it will have to cut enrollment and cut up to 3,000 jobs in the next two years. I am guessing that this means our classrooms will only be more crowded and our instructors will not be as qualified. Knowing this information, why would Mildred Garcia accept so much money? (Her salary at Cal State Dominguez Hills was about $295,000). I know that she is very well qualified for the position and has experience at many different institutions but if she really wanted to expand diversity, help the students, etc, she should have thought of us the students, rather than just herself. After hearing that can we really believe that Garcia is working on behalf of OUR best interest? Oh and did I mention, apart from her salary our new president will be receiving an extra $12,000 on her annual auto allowance? Hmmm….
I may be wary of Dr. Garcia but the fact is, she is our new president and there is nothing I can do to prevent her from taking office. She seems like a smart woman so I hope that she does all that is in her power to help with the budget cuts and really improve our school. According to her, her family was very poor while she was growing up and lived in the projects in New York. When making important decisions pertaining to the school and it’s students hopefully she humbles herself, remembers her days back in college and strives to be the President she would have wanted for her school.