You better "work on getting a thick skin."
This summer, Welty will retire after serving more than two decades as President of Fresno State. He is the seventh and longest serving President in the University's 102 year history.
The search for the next President is currently on-going and is being conducted in secret by a special committee. The final decision rests with the CSU Board of Trustees.
The "thick skin" comment is from a response to a question I asked Dr. Welty regarding his occasional wading into the often rough world of politics.
During his tenure, Welty occasionally took positions or discussed hot issues like the DREAM Act or Proposition 30, Governor Brown's temporary tax increase for education funding on last November's General Election ballot.
During my recent interview with Dr. Welty regarding his retirement and legacy, I asked him about supporting such issues and if he encountered any "roadblocks" or "backlash" from the community and University supporters and what advice would he give the new FSU President when it comes to politics.
Welty said "During the debate on the DREAM ACT, I did hear from some individuals who disagreed with my position, but as I talked with them, most could understand that my mission was to ensure the welfare of students who are seeking a higher education to improve the future for themselves and their families."
"During the Proposition 30 campaign, my role was different. I didn't take a position but sought to educate and inform people about the impact to Fresno State if the proposition passed or failed. And yes, there were some people who disagreed with Proposition 30 and brought that to my attention."
"My advice to the new Fresno State president is to seek the opinions of people on all sides of an issue but to keep the mission of the University - educating students and serving our region - as your primary guiding principle in making decisions. And I suggest he or she work on getting a "thick skin" because the criticism and barbs will always be with you!"
Welty believes now that Prop 30 is generating millions that the CSU System has reached a period of stability and we can anticipate only modest increases that should hold the line on fee increases for students.
I also asked Dr. Welty if the voters of California had been fooled into a "bait and switch" in regards to Prop 30.
There are concerns that the tax money generated by the measure will be diverted to state employee raises and benefits or to alleviate a $70 billion dollar shortfall in state teacher retirement plans.
Welty replied he didn't think so ... and for his complete response to the question ... click on the video player.
For my complete interview with Dr. Welty, click on the link: http://bit.ly/17nQWu0.