Faculty Senate At Cal State San Bernardino Cites Bullying, Leadership Shortcomings By President

As if seeking to make a pun, state college faculty members have charged Cal State San Bernardino President Tomas Morales with being a drag on morale.
Morales, the former president of the College of Staten Island within the City University of New York, was brought in to succeed Al Karnig as as president of California State University, San Bernardino in 2012.
Faculty members at CSUSB recently conducted a “campus climate survey” among themselves.
According the results section of the executive summary for phase one of the 2015 Cal State University San Bernardino Campus Climate Survey released on March 7, 2016, “Results from 756 respondents indicate that there are significant problems with morale on the CSUSB campus. Two thirds of respondents indicated that morale had changed since their hire. Nearly 90 percent indicated that morale had gotten worse. Significant proportions of employees agreed with the sentiment that they would leave if they didn’t already have so much invested in the university. Employees have lost confidence in the campus leadership, reporting with their numeric ratings that top leadership has not communicated a clear direction, that input is neither sought nor considered by leadership in the decision making process, and held perceptions that senior management does not act with integrity. Analysis of the numerous comments bolsters the sentiment that the downturn in morale on campus has largely been attributed to top leadership. The themes that emerged from the commentary sections of the survey indicated that senior management plays favorites, does not value or respect employees, is seen as ineffective, engages in abusive or uncivil behavior, and lacks authenticity. There were some positive themes that emerged: employees largely like the work that they do, enjoy working with students, and care about the university and its mission. A small proportion of employees indicated that they liked the new leadership, its direction, and thought that senior management had the best interests of the institution at heart. These were, however, very small proportions of the respondent base.”
In phase two of the report, released on May 10, 2016, the executive summary in part reads, “Bullying appears to be widely practiced on campus – a quarter of the respondents had personally experienced bullying and more than 40 percent had witnessed bullying. Comments show that key perpetrators of the practice tend to be those in powerful positions.”
It goes on to state, “Another dimension of concern is that many employees on campus characterize their work environment as threatening, or do not feel safe expressing an honest opinion for fear of inviting retaliation from management.”
Furthermore, the summary says that “although there is considerable support for diversity, with many respondents indicating that they personally value diversity and that they believe their coworkers and supervisors treat people with respect regardless of cultural background, many believe that senior management does not treat people fairly on this basis.”
The survey also cites “workload and work stress,” noting “working more than 50 hours is the norm for faculty and administrators. Although some respondents reported that they didn’t mind working long hours, a prevalent theme was that the amount of work to be done was not reasonable and caused stress.”
Morales is not mentioned by name in the survey, though the reference to “senior management” appears aimed at him. Morales has a B.A. in history from The State University of New York, New Paltz, and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in educational administration and policy studies from SUNY, Albany.  He held held senior administrative positions at the three largest public university systems in the nation: the California State University, The State University of New York, and The City University of New York. From 2001 to 2007, Morales served in various capacities at Cal Poly Pomona, including vice president for student affairs, provost and vice president for academic affairs, professor of education and principal deputy to the president.

Leave a Reply