San Bernardino, CA
Many community members celebrated the appointment of Dr. Tomás D. Morales as the first Hispanic President of California State University, San Bernardino in 2012. His experience made him a highly-qualified candidate.
Morales holds a Ph.D. in educational administration and policy studies, and has served as an educator and administrative leader in higher education for nearly 40 years. At his appointment, it was noted that Morales is one of few higher education administrators who has held senior administrative positions at the three largest public university systems in the nation.
Since his appointment in 2012, Morales has remained popular among students and the community, even as members of his own faculty allegedly worked to derail his tenure.
Those efforts appeared to yield fruit earlier this month, when, by a vote of 21-15, the faculty senate passed a no-confidence referendum on Morales, resulting in a campus-wide no-confidence referendum vote by faculty members this week.
The crusade against the President was triggered by a survey of university faculty, staff, administrators, and former employees in March 2016. More than 750 individuals participated, and the results were discouraging for Morales; it revealed 90 percent dissatisfaction with morale among faculty members and administrators at CSUSB.
When the results were made public, faculty senate president Ted Ruml told the Press Enterprise, “I do know there were people that were just out to get Dr. Morales, but this report isn’t like that.”
By June 2016, however, students began to coalesce in support of Dr. Morales and against the efforts of some faculty, staff, and administrators to undermine his tenure. At a press conference in June, Dreamers, members of the CSUSB Black Scholars Matter organization, and other students told reporters that the efforts against Morales had definite racial overtones.
Reading from a collective written statement, the students affirmed, “The faculty senate has publicly shared their prejudices, not just toward the students but also toward our own President Morales.” They compared Morales’ experience to the racism that touched their own lives as students at CSUSB. Students were not included in the March 2016 survey, which did not go unnoticed by them.
Also during this period, Ruml revealed that CSUSB professors not only paid for the survey out of their own pockets, but also set its parameters. More community members began to question the survey’s intent and whether it was purposefully structured to yield the results desired by the professors.
On Monday, 18-year CSUSB professor Enrique Murillo weighed in on the conflict. As reported by the Press Enterprise, in a written statement to his peers, Murillo shared Cleary that Morales has been, “treated differently because he’s not white,” and that, “he’s being held to a higher standard because he is Latino.” Murillo further stated, “if Morales was white, the campus would be giving him more time and leeway to address its problems.”
Murillo acknowledged that racism has improved at CSUSB in recent years, but also confirmed it has continued to persist on campus in small pockets—pockets like the faculty senate.
This week, the entire full-time faculty will weigh in on the no-confidence vote.