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Higher Education Sinks to a New Low

March 22, 2003

Re "State Probe of CSU Project Urged," March 13:

It must be reassuring for California taxpayers to learn that California State University Chancellor Charles Reed said that the CSU was vindicated by an audit which found no criminal wrongdoing.

The audit showed that an ill-conceived software project is more than $200 million over budget. Reed has regularly lectured faculty and staff about the importance of accountability. We now know what he means: The goal of the CSU is to avoid criminal prosecution. Gross incompetence is not considered a problem.

Paul Murphy

San Luis Obispo

*

As CSU faculty, students and staff watch the unfolding of the software debacle in horror, Californians may ask what makes this tale of public corruption different. It is the direct impact that it has on the lives of 400,000 students, 22,000 faculty and 43,000 staff members. CSU's management forgot that the prime mission of this great university system is education and not administration; the end is not efficiency and standardization but rather the sharing of knowledge.

Sadly, the audit reveals that hundreds of millions of dollars have been drained from instruction, student services and libraries. These revelations go a long way to explain why, even during the boom years of the '90s, the percentage of the CSU budget spent on administration grew while spending on instruction lagged. So here we are in the midst of a crippling budget crisis and we discover that administrators have squandered the state's scarce resources on a system no one can prove we actually need.

Lillian Taiz

Associate Professor, History

Chapter President, Calif.

Faculty Assn., Cal State L.A.

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