Cal State Fullerton Reporter Slammed for Speaking Truth


A California State University of Fullerton student reporter has come under attack for quoting me in the Daily Titan.

Ally Bordas wrote a brief article for the Daily Titan on the financial mess at CSUF and pointed out the irresponsibility, waste, and hypocrisy within the university’s management. In her article, she quotes my blog post Cal State Fullerton President – Lifestyles of Our Rich Public Employees at the El Dorado Ranch.

CSUF Daily Titan scared by the truth

The CSU media specialist didn’t like the fact that Ms. Bordas used my post and even less that it was pulled from the 4F blog. Unfortunately, the story was pulled from the Daily Titan and Ms. Bordas has had to endure a lot of questions on her fact checking.

The fact remains that the words she quoted from me are based on the official legal agreement between the State of California and the Chapman family who donated the El Dorado Ranch. You can find the document at the Orange County Recorder’s Office by asking for Instrument No. 1989-334761 of Official Records. You can also email me at GregSebourn@yahoo.com and I will email the 28-page PDF to you.

Here are a few facts to consider about the El Dorado Ranch that the agreement spells out:

  1. It was donated in 1989 by the Chapman Family.
  2. CSU Fullerton President Milton Gordon takes office in August 1990, almost exactly 1 year after the donation.
  3. No property taxes are paid on the compound because it is owned by the State of California. However, the Orange County Assessor still keeps track of how much the 4 acre property would be taxed if anyone else owned it. That figure puts it at $3,351,724 in 2009!
  4. The property was donated and all parties agreed that the mansion would be the “official residence” of the president. This is mentioned multiple times throughout the agreement.
  5. The agreement stipulates that the property shall not be converted into student housing. However, there is one MAJOR and MASSIVE exception. The “apartment adjacent to the house [which] may be used for support staff for the President of the University and/or El Dorado Ranch. In my initial post I said his assistant had a home on the sprawling estate but I was wrong. He could actually have as many assistants (a.k.a. “support staff”) as he feels he needs to have on hand and all of them are welcome to live at the El Dorado Ranch.
  6. At the time of the initial donation, there were numerous antiques on loan to the State that remained in the home. Some items dating from the early 19th century.
  7. The Chapman family still retains mineral rights to the El Dorado Ranch. That means they have a right to pump oil from underneath the State’s property.
  8. Item 11 of Exhibit “B” of the agreement requires that any garden developed on the property shall be named the “Alice Wilber Chapman Garden”. Alice Chapman was the mother of the donors.
  9. The property is owned by the taxpayers of the State of California yet the sign at the entrance reads “PRIVATE PROPERTY”. Surely it was an error on the part of some underpaid state employee who didn’t know that public property can’t also be private property.
  10. Not in the agreement but worth noting is that we all need to do our part to conserve energy because energy conservation is clearly not high on the President’s list of priorities. Of course when someone else is paying the bill, who cares… Thanks for leaving the light on!

At the end of the day, Ms. Ally Bordas was correct to point up the chain of command within the CSU system and call out the hypocrisy that exists. The leadership insists on burdening the students with higher tuition and “fees” but they are not willing to look within their own ranks. The CSU system has many great minds but where they are being used remains a mystery. In my opinion, the media specialist should do a little fact checking of their own.

For Milton Gordon, its still good to be king!


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  1. #1 by SauceBrick on November 10, 2010

    CSU Media Specialist – aka CSU Media Relations Specialist?

    Of course the PR hack would shut down a student journalist who is critical of the Cal State University empire.

    I would expect nothing less from a bloated government agency. CYA at all costs, students and journalism be damned!

  2. #2 by Daily Titan on November 10, 2010

    (A few minor corrections are pending. This is what appeared in the DT)

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved the state budget and allocation of funds to the Cal State University system Oct. 8.

    This is the first time that there has been an approval for an increase in funding for Cal State Universities since 2007.

    The CSU Past, Present and Future Budget

    The CSU system educates around 450,000 students a year and graduates nearly 90,000 students annually.

    Cal State Fullerton is the CSU with the most students, more than 36,000 in 2009, and is followed closely by Cal State Long Beach, which has about 35,500 students, according to the CSU website.

    The pending budget weighed heavily on faculty, staff and students. The approved $119 million will restore the university budget and $60.6 million will be helping enrollment growth.

    The CSUs will also receive a one-time $106 million federal stimulus fund, which will go toward “helping CSU meet its payroll. In turn, CSU will use monies from state support and student fee revenues previously set aside for payroll to admit new students and restore courses that were previously cut due to budget reductions,” the Cal State University Employee Union, CSUEU, report stated.

    The CSUEU said, “the final budget will increase the system’s General Fund support from $2.35 billion (2009-10) to $2.62 billion, marking the first restoration of state funding to the CSU since 2007.”

    CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed was relieved after the budget had been announced.

    “We thank the Governor and the legislature for their commitment to reinvest in higher education, and appreciate the increase in state funding support for the CSU,” Reed said in a report released by CSUEU.

    Management from the top of the CSU

    Chancellor Reed is “the chief executive officer of the country’s largest senior system of public higher education,” according to the CSU. He represents not only CSUF, but all 23 CSUs.

    “Like the rest of California, the last two years have been extremely challenging for us, but our mission is to educate the future workforce of the state, and despite these ongoing challenges the CSU will continue to provide both access and service to students,” Reed said.

    Reed also provides leadership to 44,000 faculty and staff and 433,000 students.

    When the budget cuts reached their peak, every Board of Trustees member, CSU president and state representative was under the highest scrutiny from student and faculty protesters. An article published in the Daily Sundial in 2009 released Reed’s salary, “$424,548 a year… which we pay for as (students).”

    Management at the CSUF level

    President Milton A. Gordon, head chief executive at CSUF, also receives an annual salary. According to the Sacramento Bee, he is among the highest paid public employees and earns $302,042.

    Gordon was named CSUF president in 1990. One of the luxuries of being a CSU(F) president is free housing in addition to an annual salary.

    According to a blog post by Greg Sebourn of Friends for Fullerton’s Future, “(Gordon) is living rent free.”

    Jessica Barrile, a 24-year-old sociology major, expressed her opinion on Sebourn’s article, “(I don’t know) what Gordon does with his time, cut programs? I would not mind if he lived rent-free if he was not paid so much.”

    Gordon’s house, as described by Sebourn in his political blog, is located in El Dorado Ranch and is owned by Chapman family properties.

    It is “a four-acre estate sitting high in the Fullerton hills overlooking the commoners eking out a living below and no longer appears to be a working ranch despite its name,” Sebourn wrote.

    According to the same blog post, the house is “public property and is valued at $3,351,724 for tax assessment purposes (although the property is exempt from actually incurring property taxes).”

    Though the house was a gift from the Chapman family in 1989, the Chapman family made a prior agreement with the state stating, “the taxpayers (meaning us), have to house the university president there and maintain the houses and property,” Sebourn wrote.

    The assistant to the president has the privilege of living in the guesthouse (as well).

    David Armstrong, recent CSUF graduate, said “you don’t want to shortchange the president of the school and the like, because they’re your sales team. These are the guys who don’t just run the school, but solicit for grant money and put the campus on the map.”

    Campus level action on behalf of the CSU and CSUF

    In order to keep the CSU system in check, there are many student groups as well as faculty groups that have formed over the years to make sure the CSU system stays true to its mission.

    California Faculty Association

    One of these groups is the California Faculty Association. The CFA has 23 chapters, one for each of the Cal State campuses.

    The Fullerton chapter is lead by professor Mougo Nyaggah, and professor Jarret Lovell serves as the vice president.

    The CFA Fullerton website states “(We) are the voice and link to the statewide CFA… CFA is a democratic organization with an elected leadership and decision-making structure both at the statewide and campus levels.”

    The CFA is not just for faculty members, there is a section dedicated for students on its website.

    “CFA has a long standing position of opposing students fee increases because fee hikes hurt access to higher education,” according to the CFA.

    Last year, the CFA organized many on-campus events to combat the budget cuts. They tabled on the Titan Walk to inform the student body about furloughs and also held open forum discussions.

    Working alongside the CFA last year was the CSUF student lead group who coined themselves as the “Elephant in the Room.” This group of students and faculty advisers held many on-and-off campus protests, organized discussion events, wrote manifestos, and held many meetings to openly talk about their concerns with the CSU.

    Today, this reformed group calls themselves “We! Communities for the Future of the University.” They fight to sustain the CSU and all of the programs attached to it. The group meets on-campus to discuss old and new problems within the education system and possible solutions.

    The group met two weeks ago with history professor, Steve Jobbitt, who moderated the discussion. There were about ten students in attendance, differing in age and major.

    “Last year, We! was taking small issues and expanding them. This meant that we related issues to not only how they would affect the university, but how these issues would affect society as a whole,” Jobbitt said at the beginning of the meeting.

    The group discussed creating a website to inform the student body about different social justice issues occurring in the world, holding more open forums and talked about news occurring around the nation in the educational system.

    Recent concerns with the CSU system were also discussed. The new early start program really seemed to irk many We! members.

    “The early start program forces recent high school graduates preparing to attend a CSU school in the fall to take remedial classes before they qualify for financial aid,” Jobbitt said.

    Jobbitt asked the group, “If we as the students and faculty don’t do something, then what? We cannot wait.”

    The group thought about this question as Jobbitt pushed even further saying, “If the CSU system goes, that’s it. We are the biggest education system in the nation. We affect everything.”

    Students for Quality Education

    Another group that works alongside the CFA is “Students for Quality Education (SQE). Formed in 2007-08 by students in the (CSU) system to build the student movement for educational rights in public higher education,” said the SQE.

    The SQE motto is “Stand up, Speak out, and Protect the Quality of our Education!”

    Although CSUF does not have a SQE chapter, CSULB does and welcomes students from all schools to unite to fight the budget cuts and other CSU problems and concerns.

    Armstrong brings a different perspective to the budget issue.

    “Personnel makes up for 75 to 85 percent of all expenses. This is faculty salary, pension, healthcare, and other related benefits,” Armstrong said. “If you want to cut the budget, the biggest slice to trim is faculty salaries.”

    Armstrong does not deny the fact that the faculty has taken pay cuts and hasn’t received a raise in several years.

    “However, what they won’t tell you is if they are Ph.D.s, or better yet, published, (they can) be making from salary alone $85,000 plus. This ignores benefits,” Armstrong said. “That is a very professional salary, not blue collar.”

    Barrile fears for the future of the CSUs if student admissions continue to increase without the monetary grants going to the right places and meeting the concerns of the student body.

    “I think it is bad for those who are serious about school, because so often I see students trying to add a full class and there is a fair amount of enrolled students that end up dropping it, and those who wanted the class cannot have it,” Barrile said.

    Armstrong asks the student body to ponder this question before siding with the faculty, who he says is just “wanting your sympathy so you’ll side with them… when was the last time one of your professors genuinely impressed you, taught you new knowledge, and not just a cliche or pithy quote from a dead white guy?”

    Armstrong continued to express his concerns and dissent.

    “I will never donate money to the school, because the faculty are so unimpressive and uninspired,” Armstrong said.

  3. #3 by admin on November 10, 2010

    They hate us. I wonder why? Could it also be because of our posts on the Hope University takeover? Or maybe our expose of the asinine “University Heights” boondoggle?

    Just wondering aloud.

    • #4 by Joe Sipowicz on November 10, 2010

      Yeah, Boss, they hate us all right. But my guess is because of a visceral need to support fellow boohoos Dems and RINOs wherever they may flourish.

  4. #5 by Don't look at The Elephant in the Room on November 10, 2010

    And of course the antiquated Milton Gordon is blithering idiot.

    In other words a perfect city council candidate for the Education Community.

    Run Milty, run!

  5. #6 by Steve on November 10, 2010

    I’m not far removed from my days at CSUF. I also attended Fullerton College. I know it seems hard to believe, but I thought FJC was pretty well managed. There’s no comparison between FJC and the corruption at CSUF. No comparison at all.

    Let me tell you about some of my senior professors at CSUF. I’m quite sure a couple of them spent more time commuting to/from campus, than actually on campus. The College of Business & Economics allowed professors to trade-in classes they would otherwise have to teach for “research” or published work in scholarly journals. Needless to say, these guys haven’t done jack shit in a number of years!

    CSUF allowed them to teach 3 or 4 classes PER YEAR, not per semester, PER YEAR, in return for this purported research. I had one professor who flat out admitted that he was a fraud, scamming the taxpayers because he didn’t do anything. With his ONE class that semester, he was on campus from 3:00pm-7:30pm on Wednesdays only. That was it. He worked 4.5 hours per week.

    I just checked on his 2009 salary. He made roughly $105,000. I’d be surprised if he worked more than 300 hours during the entire year.

  6. #7 by Joe Sipowicz on November 10, 2010

    Steve, the scandal of public institution teachers needs to be made public.

    Some of these clowns do indeed teach 2 classes per semester and make huge bucks for what they do.

    The scandal of foisting TAs on undergrads is yet another academic scam.

    But none of this will ever come out until the students actually have to start paying at least a reasonable portion of the cost of their “education.” The subsidy really acts to remove the consumer from the true cost and the true value of the product being consumed (education).

    The taxpayers are left holding the empty sack.

    • #8 by Steve on November 10, 2010

      I think what students in the CSU and UC systems are naive about is how militaristic and bureaucratic the system has become. As a kid, you have no say in anything, you’re trash, and you’re a second-class citizen with no rights. This standard is upheld when you move from high school to a CSU or UC campus.

      And it’s no accident that CSUF administration occupies the top floors of the tallest building on campus, Langsdorf Hall. Most students feel intimidated about going up there. This is just another way they manipulate young adults who haven’t matured enough to see what’s going on. The university, like our liberal government, loves every bit of control they can get their hands on.

      I’ll tell you one thing that really pisses me off about the CSU bureaucracy. If you need to drop a class after the drop date (usually 2-3 weeks into the semester) you have to secure the approval of not only the professor but the department chair. You’re at the mercy of egotistical Ph.D. assholes who get to decide whether your reason is “valid” or not.

      A friend of mine was hospitalized during the semester and needed to lighten his class load. His doctor wrote a letter to CSUF explaining his condition. He took the letter to the department chair, who had the audacity to doubt the authenticity of my friend’s condition and refused to permit the drop. Without the drop, you fail the class with an “F”. As is the case with many professors – no social skills – the department chair proceeds to antagonize my friend about his condition. A big argument ensued and my friend told him, “Who the fuck do you think you are? You have a Ph.D. not an M.D.”

      A week passes by and my friend is brought up on charges by CSUF administrators for inappropriate conduct. He was the victim of harassment and discrimination by a CSUF employee, but instead of apologizing, they wanted to drop the hammer on him.

      Yes, words were exchanged, but this wasn’t junior high. It was between two adults. Bottom line, the department chair was being an asshole, and he deserved the response he got.

      My friend hired a lawyer and the incident was resolved in about 30 minutes, the class was dropped, and he received several written apologies from CSUF.

      There’s a simple reason why stories like these rarely make the news. It’s called intimidation. You do anything that makes the school look bad and they can kick you out, destroying your prospect of an education. Nevermind the fact it’s a government operation and students pay thousands of dollars to attend. That’s bullshit.

  7. #9 by The Fullerton Savage on November 10, 2010

    Grand residences are often given to university presidents with the understanding that they are used for entertaining prospective donors and wealthy and influential groups of alumni, as well as distinguished guests who might be in town for a special lecture or speech. It seems unjust to pay someone a huge salary while students are barely scraping by, but if they can bring in the funds it’s no different than paying a corporate CEO the big bucks for increasing profits. Anyone know how much money Mr. Gordon has raised? It had better be a huge amount of money if he’s living on four acres in OC, especially when CSU is planning to raise fees even more next year.

    • #10 by Joe Sipowicz on November 11, 2010

      Savage, no sale. A private university has the luxury of housing its puffed up president in a paid-for house.

      Public universities should be more circumspect for lots of reasons including ecomony and propriety. Gordon is a dumb old fool who can do his fund-raising on campus, at a hotel conference room, or with bottles of MD behind the 007 Motel on Anaheim Boulevard.

      Steve is dead on. These operations operate largely below the public and press radar and have not only accreted to themselves all sorts of whacked out perks and privileges, but we have allowed them to do it, too.

      Yes the campus administrators and the Chancellors office is full of over-paid dead wood. And the tenured professariat is only aggravating the situation. And the CSUF Auxilliary? Time to audit Bill Dickerson right down to his socks.

      • #11 by The Fullerton Savage on November 11, 2010

        Joe, the house was given to the university. Should they not use it according to the restrictions attached to the gift? I too would have preferred to see the land sold or used in a way more directly beneficial to students, but it is what it is, a free house for the president. Should they give it back to the Chapmans?

        I am sure we all admired Jerry Brown for living in a small apartment in Sacramento instead of Reagan’s expensive new governor’s mansion in the seventies. Maybe Gordon should do the same, but will it actually save CSUF any money?

        • #12 by Joe Sipowicz on November 11, 2010

          Good point.

          Some gifts should be refused. Give it back to the Chapman clan and let ‘em start paying taxes on it.

          • #13 by Anonymous on November 11, 2010

            part of the justification for Gordon’s high salary is the cost of housing. it seems to work well for Gordy…

  8. #14 by van get it da artiste on November 10, 2010

    A Titan alumna, I hate to see person(s) or policies threaten the academic integrity of CSUF. The cuts to its departments cheapens CSUF academics at a time when tuition is at its highest. Collectively, exorbitant salaries for CSUF administration during our economic depression damages the integrity of CSUf because it diverts precious resources( tax dollars) away from the academic needs of CSUF. With all the perks CSUF president receives, he can afford to take a pay cut.

  9. #15 by compton on November 10, 2010

    As a former cal state fullerton student, i couldn’t agree more with u guys, there u have it, compton agress with 4F!!! Gordon is worthless, and the faculty there is pathetic. Bringing up public employee pay in polisci classes was very touchy, and i even believe i was punshided grade wise for speaking out on the issue. i watched in disgust last semester as students marched in protest for the faculty, all the while not even knowing what the hell they were protesting or why they were doing it.

  10. #16 by van get it da artiste on November 11, 2010

    compton, you redeemed yourself

  11. #17 by Mango on November 11, 2010

    That’s what happens when you reference a blogger in a real journalism piece. Bloggers have no credibility outside of the world of disaffected malcontents still living with their mothers.

  12. #18 by Anonymous on November 11, 2010

    the mango has gone bad. see what happens when you fall off the tree…

  13. #19 by Sacramento Momento on November 16, 2010

    Chris Bugbee, CSUF Director of Media Relations, is the censor for the CSUF Daily Titan. He must be ticked off for taking a $3,000 cut in pay!!!!

    Christopher B Bugbee
    ADMINISTRATOR II
    CSU FULLERTON
    Job Title
    2009: ADMINISTRATOR II
    2008: ADMINISTRATOR II
    2007: ADMINISTRATOR II

    2009 Pay
    Base pay: $85,587.32, Overtime: $0.00, Other:$396.00
    Total pay: $85,983.32

    2008 Pay
    Base pay: $88,560.00, Overtime: $0.00, Other:$396.00
    Total pay: $88,956.00

    2007 Pay
    Base pay: $76,966.23, Overtime: $0.00, Other:$363.00
    Total pay: $77,329.23

    Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/statepay/salary-details/?firstname=Christopher&lastname=Bugbee&totalpay=88956&agency=CSU+FULLERTON#ixzz15T5sB71L

  14. #20 by Guy Fawkes on November 29, 2010

    Another problem administrator, slithering around behind the scenes, is Ed Trotter. This is the individual responsible for freezing class adds at the beginning of the semester, abusing his authority by harassing students and staff he doesn’t like, all the while telling everyone he’s working for everyone’s benefit (and his 6-figure salary). He’s another example of the poor leadership of CSUF. CSUF has numerous administrators to harass students, BUT NOT ONE to act on behalf of students. Lame duck Milton Gordon takes responsibility for none of it.

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