Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro addressed past and future accomplishments in his spring 2018 faculty and staff assembly held Thursday.
The event at the Save Mart Center gave Castro the opportunity to meet face to face with faculty and staff and present on several plans for the semester, just days before classes resume on Jan. 17.
One topic that was not missed was the recent death of Fresno State student Omar Nemeth, who died from an apparent drug overdose after visiting the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity house earlier this month.
The death, Castro said, “touched all of us.” A moment of silence was held in the student’s honor.
In a news conference after the assembly, Castro said the university will not being taking any actions to terminate the fraternity.
“There are no plans to do anything in terms of punishing the fraternity itself,” Castro said.
He also said the university will be working on several outreach events regarding the topic of substance abuse and addiction. One will be held on campus later this month.
Fresno State Associated Students, Inc. has planned a ‘Drug Awareness Walk” for Jan. 20.
During his assembly speech, Castro highlighted multiple accomplishments the university had in 2017 and spoke about upcoming plans.
In line for this year are the $26 million campus renovation plans expected to begin this summer. Those plans will bring upgrades to eight classroom and will continue onto next summer with four more classroom upgrades, Castro said.
Requests by faculty for more infant care opportunities will soon be a reality with dedicated space in the Huggins Early Education Center at the Kremen School of Education and Human Development building.
The infant care facility is expected to accommodate eight to 10 infants. The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Castro reminded the audience that Fresno State was ranked No. 17 in best universities in the nation by Washington Monthly. It was the only California State University to be take a spot in the top 30.
Also last year, Castro noted, more than $400,000 were raised during a 24-hour donation drive during Fresno State’s first-ever Day of Giving. Castro added that the fundraiser was the most successful of its kind in the CSU system.
Many faculty and staff members were also recognized for their continued work in helping the university achieve the accomplishments. Other faculty spoke on issues affecting students.
Tom Holyoke, chair of the Academic Senate and professor of political science, opened the assembly with a speech that was also a call to action focused on supporting students who are enrolled in the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.
He told the audience to play a role in making further progress towards reforming immigration policy.
“All of us need to pressure our local legislators to finally, once and for all, pass some kind of comprehensive immigration reform,” Holyoke said.
He elaborated on the importance of receiving a higher education and how the challenge for some to obtain that is a “social tragedy.”
Castro also spoke on the importance of having a plan for students, including those who are on pace to graduate from the university. There are roughly 600 undocumented students who are covered under the DACA program and attend Fresno State. The Trump administration last fall announced plans to expire the DACA program in March.
Castro said he recently sat down with a group of students to discuss the program. The conversation included a number of questions from the students who are concerned about their future, Castro said.
“I’m concerned but I’m optimistic that over the last few days there have been bipartisan discussions in Washington,” Castro said. “My hope is that we will have a resolution to this very soon.”