By Robin Alcantara |Staff Writer|
A CBS news report on Oct. 8, 2014 stated that donated funds to the California State University (CSU) system were being used for various non-educational purposes.
The investigative report named and accused several current and former CSU administrators statewide in allegations of lavish spending with donated funds.
“I can’t speak for what is happening on other CSU campuses,” said Ron Fremont, vice president of CSUSB’s University Advancement.
“This university is incredibly conservative in its practices and uses for all funds, including non-state funds,” added Fremont.
David Goldstein, CBS investigative reporter, included that all CSU’s have non-profit foundations through which administrators are “funneling” donated funds.
CSUSB has a non-profit organization, the Philanthropic Foundation, that receives donations for the university.
The CBS report showed receipts for a membership at Arrowhead Country Club for CSUSB, renovations for the CSU Northridge president’s kitchen, alcohol for parties, expansive dinners and a $3,000 American Express gift card to a retiring CSU president.
The Arrowhead Country Club is the home course for the CSUSB golf team. The funds for the Arrowhead Country Club membership come from various funds specifically donated to CSUSB’s golf team, said Fremont.
“I want to know what these funds are going to and be specific about where the funds are coming from,” said Litzuly Gonzalez, a senior studying Spanish.
The CSB report also mentioned various CSU presidents whose home renovations were paid for by non-profit organization funds.
“We do not have an on-campus house. President [Tomas] Morales lives in a private home so there is no mixing of funds,” said Fremont.
As for the allegations in Goldstein’s report, no funds from the CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation were used improperly, according to Fremont. Some students believe they are being cheated in light of the allegations made on Goldstein’s report.
“Not everyone gets financial aid,” said Emma Ardon, a senior studying Business Administration.
“These donations should be going to scholarships.”
CSUSB has different practices than those shown on the CBS segment.
“They are always donor directed funds,” said Fremont.
“We have over 300 different scholarship funds.”
The Philanthropic Foundation’s funds are thoroughly monitored and accounted for, he said. Some of the funds are being used for what many people would call an “investment” into fundraising, but these funds do not come from our Philanthropic Foundation. Fremont agrees that it is necessary to spend some money to obtain more donations for the school. He explained that each office does have an allowance to use to help the university raise funds.
In reaction to the allowances, “Last year we raised nearly $6 million, that’s a 40 percent increase over the year before,” said Fremont.
“Every public agency has to be on top of public perception about how they are using any funds,” said Fremont.