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Cal State chief visits campus, dances and chats with students

April 23, 2013|By Carla Rivera
  • Cal State Chancellor Timothy White, left, tours Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson. After the students danced in a flash mob for him, he took off his shoes and tried to emulate the break dancing moves of senior Michael Amaton, 32, of Hermosa Beach, to the delight of the other students.
Cal State Chancellor Timothy White, left, tours Cal State Dominguez Hills… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

Almost before he had taken his last spin, there was a YouTube video up of Cal State University Chancellor Timothy P. White break dancing in front of hundreds of appreciative students at the Dominguez Hills campus Tuesday.

It follows the video of him doing the Harlem Shake with students at Cal State East Bay in February and considering but deciding against climbing a rock wall at Sacramento State in March.

White was at Dominguez Hills as part of his promise to visit all 23 Cal State campuses during his first year on the job and so far he's been a big hit, approaching students in food courts and classrooms to hear their stories and ask whether they are supported and challenged and he's familiarizing himself with the larger campus community.

But the tour is also about understanding what's working well and not so well in the nation’s largest public four-year university system after weathering more than $1 billion in state funding cuts since 2008. Those reductions included fewer course offerings and enrollment, and spiraling tuition.

“What I’ve been hearing is the pride, the resilience and the self-reliance of students who’ve gone through some tough times with all of the tuition changes,” said White, who had put back on his coat and shoes after successfully executing his first hip-hop spin. “They’re not happy about the difficulties, but they’re not giving up.”

White assumed his post in December, after serving as chancellor of UC Riverside.
 

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carla.rivera@latimes.com

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