This is from Stockton’s General Plan 2035:
“The City shall support and encourage the development of a new University of California, California State University, or private college or university campus within the City of Stockton. A college/university with a strong research component that will promote job creation and economic growth and sustainability is desired.”
That looks good on paper. But leaders have done little to make it happen. In part this is because there has been little they can do. Our era is one of cutbacks and retrenchment in the CSU system.
But it’s also true that we have not strived to land a university because there is a fatalism in the body politic, a community-wide shrug at our civic shortcomings. This resignation, an enablement of a culture of mediocrity, should be categorically rejected.
Assemblywoman Susan Eggman said she attended a reception for the CSU system’s new chancellor at the Capitol recently, and spoke to him about the need for a university in Stockton. However, when funding is restored (if funding is ever restored) I imagine his priorities go something like this: catch up on several hundred million dollars’ worth of deferred maintenance at CSU campuses; lower tuitions; give staff raises.
On top of that, there are other cities wanting universities. A legislator is pushing for one in Chula Vista in the San Diego Area. So the city has to stake its claim and persistently advocate. Eggman or other San Joaquin legislators can help by crafting a law requiring the state to do a fiscal impact report on a CSU Stockton.
Administrators at CSU Stanislaus can help by dedicating funding to the Stockton Center. The Center has never had its own funding stream, which leaves it vulnerable to excessive cuts by administrators more concerned with the Turlock area.
It’s a steep hill. But a university ranks with a restored downtown and waterfront as the best legacy our generation can leave.
Said Council member Michael Tubbs, “It’s got to happen.”
Here’s today’s column on the subject, by the way.