Charlie Reed, California State University's Chancellor for the last 15 years, is retiring. I worked in the CSU's Office of the Chancellor, the system's administrative headquarters, throughout most of Charlie Reed's tenure and have my own perspective on his performance.
Reed had his
faults but he was a strong leader with a particular dedication to
students. He fought hard in Sacramento
for CSU, reached out to minority and other underserved communities in
California, championed the development of processes to assist high school
students to be better able to enter the CSU system, and demanded that his staff
and campus presidents strive to increase graduation rates. Perhaps above all, he guided the system through
incredibly troubling times that resulted from a failing economy and weak
politicians unwilling to make tough decisions and focus on higher
Reed was unfairly blamed for
tuition increases that flowed from diminishing state financial support and
monumental budget cuts. He clashed with
the faculty union which refused to recognize that no one was getting salary
increases but still wanted them for its own.
Charlie failed to recognize the mistake in boosting executive pay, not
for existing presidents whose salaries were frozen as was everyone else's but
for new presidents he wanted to attract to lead CSU campuses. Students blamed CSU for fee increases instead
of turning their focus on Sacramento which consistently slashed CSU's
Charlie Reed was admittedly coarse at
times, lacking the smoothness of his predecessor, Barry Munitz, but Reed was
decisive, loyal to his staff, incredibly bright and quick to grasp complex
issues, hard working, and, underneath a gruff exterior, a very caring person.
Good luck, Charlie. Enjoy your well earned retirement.
See Los Angeles Times article on Reed, with its own perspective on his legacy:
CSU Chancellor Charlie Reed Retires