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Davis Picks CSUN Student for Panel

May 17, 2000|ZANTO PEABODY

A Cal State Northridge student has landed a position on the state's Postsecondary Education Commission.

Robert Hanff, president of CSUN Associated Students and a political science major, is Gov. Gray Davis' sole student appointee to the 16-member commission. A position reserved for a student from one of the state's independent colleges remains vacant.

The agency, which reviews all major state-level issues involving colleges and universities, recently studied a proposal for a new campus at Merced and has searched for ways to narrow the gap between the pay of University of California faculty and that of Cal State University faculty.

"I don't think there should be a great divide between them and CSU," Hanff said. "CSU is like the workhorse for the state. They produce a number of teachers and a number of engineers and other professionals. They really fuel our economy with their graduates."

Hanff, who grew up in Winnetka, is the third oldest of six children and the first in his family to attend college. A member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key National Honor Society, he was elected student body president in 1999 and reelected for a second term in March.

"I was a big procrastinator growing up, so I didn't get involved in a lot of things," Hanff said. "So I came to college with a lot of guilt about that procrastinating. I knew I had potential. I got involved in college because I knew what I did would affect those around me, like my brothers and sisters."

CPEC spokesman Daniel Parker said Hanff, during his two-year term, can expect to help issue official opinions on how the state should accommodate the expected glut of 700,000 additional college students by 2010. The commission also will look at how high-tech education and traditional college campuses work together, Parker said.

Hanff joins the committee for his first meeting June 12 in Sacramento with ideas of his own.

"I've been talking to students, trustees and chancellors of the CSUs," Hanff said. "This year, there are a lot of issues surrounding the collaboration between high schools and colleges--getting students prepared. We're talking a lot about dealing with first-time freshman and new community college transfers."

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