College of Staten Island President Tomás Morales announced on May 10, 2012, that he is leaving CSI after five years in office to become the next president of California State University, San Bernardino. Morales said in a statement that his decision was “guided by family.”
The announcement came just ten days after CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein gave an impassioned endorsement of Morales at the conclusion of his report at the April 30 meeting of the CUNY Board of Trustees. The chancellor credited Morales with, among other achievements, recruiting talented faculty and promoting new campus facilities, including a first-ever residence hall and a high-performance computing center.
“I want the board to know that I support Tomás Morales without exception,” Goldstein declared. Five members of the board followed Goldstein’s report with their own prepared statements of support.
The strong statements by trustees and the chancellor came in response to a resolution of no confidence in President Morales and CSI Provost William Fritz that won support at the CSI Faculty Senate meeting on March 22, 2012.
The resolution, backed by 31 of 54 senators, said that Morales and Fritz had “proven themselves incapable of effectively leading the College of Staten Island.” It criticized the choice and evaluation of administrators, the rejection of elected chairs of academic departments, and a failure to “provide responsible and effective leadership during the Pathways initiative.”
The no-confidence vote was later challenged on procedural grounds and the matter was debated at the April 19, 2012 meeting of the CSI Faculty Senate without resolution.
COAST TO COAST
This is not the first time that Morales has left CUNY for a California State campus. He previously served as Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at City College from 1994 to 2001, leaving to accept an administrative post at Cal Poly Pomona, where he worked until coming to CSI in 2007.
Morales is only the third president in the college’s history, following Edmond Volpe (1976-1994) and Marlene Springer (1994-2007). CSI was established in 1976 when Staten Island Community College and Richmond College merged.