Researchers at CSUSB reveal mistrust of administration

13-02-24-FONTANA--Tomas Morales, President, California State University, San Bernardino speaks during "Super Sunday" at Principles of Faith Christian Center in Fontana on Sunday, Feb 24 2013.  CSU officials hope events like Super Sunday, which reaches out to prospective black students through their local churches, and other efforts will increase black enrollment in Universities.Photo by Robert A. Whitehead/CSUSB
Courtesy of California State University

In a survey conducted via email invitation in the fall of 2015, mistrust of campus administration and bullying were reported as prominent problems on the California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) campus. Input from 756 current faculty, administrators, staff and former employees were included in the survey and was compiled into a 113-page report. The report was presented at the CSUSB May faculty senate meeting.

The report is the second part of a study to assess CSUSB’s 2015 Campus Climate and was authored by Psychology Professor Janet Kottke, Professor of Management Kathie Pelletier and Co-Director of the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis Barbara Sirotnik. The prior report was presented in early March and brought to light some of the problems that existed within the university.

While much of the leadership within departments and colleges has been met with relatively high approval, top administration has failed to garner the same approval rating, with only 24 percent of survey respondents indicating that they felt like there was a campus-wide atmosphere of trust. Many negative comments were received, with CSUSB President Tomas Morales collecting many critical comments in terms of his leadership.

According to the survey, bullying, another prominent issue within the university, was witnessed by more than 40 percent of respondents, a quarter of whom reported as victims of bullying. Other problems highlighted in the survey included the lack of psychological safety, favoritism and work stress.

Kottke is hopeful that the campus environment will experience positive change in terms of what has been recommended in the report. She said that, “the president indicated in his report to the faculty senate last Tuesday that he would accept all of the recommendations in the report. That said, actions are more important than words to restore trust in the administration. Much work is to be done if the issues are to be remedied.”

Some suggestions on how to solve the issues include developing an explicit anti-bullying policy, sponsoring an audit of HR’s practices, conducting continuous data collection to assess if change is being made to campus climate and organizing a workload audit to indicate whether departments have imbalances between work and expectations.

“… it will take a while to repair the damage that respondents believe has been done. It would be important, however, for the president to take some immediate steps to show goodwill toward the full campus,” Kottke elaborated.

The study was sponsored by the Faculty Senate executive committee last summer after concerns were raised over campus climate.

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