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More than $1 million spent on CSU presidents’ home renovations

More than $1 million in public and private funds have been used to renovate the homes of a few Cal State University presidents in the past year.

The renovations, which took place for Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal State Northridge presidents, all happened before the current presidents of the universities moved in. The university-owned homes, besides housing the presidents and their families, serve as fundraising venues.

The transition period between one president moving out and another president moving in is the optimum time to conduct the repairs, CSU Spokesman Erik Fallis said.

“No major work had been done for quite a while,” Fallis said. “The [CSUF] home was run-down and decrepit.”

The CSUF home had carpet, flooring and wallpaper replaced, in addition to more work.

Some of the renovations include making the homes compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and repairing carpets and floors.

However, some students have voiced opposition to the amount of money spent on renovations, citing budget cuts and tuition hikes as reasons to avoid spending $1 million.

“With so many classes being cut, having the nicest possible residences for presidents, even as event venues, should not be a priority,” Elisabeth Manville, a senior journalism and history double major, said.

Renovations have also taken place at President F. King Alexander’s home, though not in the last year.

“Because we have three children, I added a small bedroom to the house which was needed upon my arrival,” Alexander said. “The renovation cost $57,000, and since then we have contributed nearly $44,000 back to the Foundation to help offset that cost of the room.”

According to Fallis, it is common for university presidents to try and offset the cost of renovations as quickly as possible. Like Alexander, many university presidents will often hold fundraisers or use private dollars to renovate homes before using public dollars.

“I feel like they [CSU presidents] are not managing the money properly,” Analiese Lauro, a sophomore business major, said. “It’s hard to say yes to any president because we don’t know who determines what is necessary to repair.”

According to Fallis, Elliot Hirshman, the president of San Diego State, has donated $100,000 of his money to his university and is raising $1 million a week in fundraising.

“These houses are often donated to the CSU,” Fallis said. “Sometimes public dollars are used to renovate public assets.”

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