Cal State Panel Ousts Reynolds : Education: The system’s chancellor was to serve until Oct. 1. But trustees wanted her out immediately to restore public confidence after the pay raise controversy.


California State University trustees pushed system Chancellor W. Ann Reynolds out of office Wednesday, 4 1/2 months earlier than originally planned, and appointed Cal State Hayward President Ellis E. McCune as acting chancellor.

Officials said the moves were aimed at quickly restoring public confidence that they believe has been lost due to the recent controversy over large and secret pay raises for Cal State executives that led to Reynolds’ forced resignation last month.

The actions also represented final rebukes of Reynolds. She had asked to remain chancellor until Oct. 1 and had named Executive Vice Chancellor Herbert L. Carter to be her temporary successor.

And in another move against a Reynolds associate, the trustees forced the resignation of Mayer Chapman, Cal State’s vice chancellor and general counsel. Chapman was an architect of the secrecy surrounding the pay raises.


McCune is expected to be a caretaker chancellor for six months to a year as trustees search for a permanent leader of the 20-campus system. He said he will not be a candidate for the permanent job. He has headed the Hayward campus since 1967, giving him the longest tenure of any current Cal State president, and was scheduled to retire this summer.

“Probably the principal task is to get things running again as smoothly as possible. As you probably know, the system has been in considerable chaos in the last two months,” McCune, 68, told reporters after the trustees meeting in Long Beach.

He said his goals are to repair Cal State’s relationship with the Legislature and decentralize the system by giving more power to the campuses.

In shifting from Hayward to the chancellor’s office, McCune jumps from a campus of 12,700 students to a system of 366,000 students--the largest chain of four-year public universities in the nation.

A scholarly looking political scientist with a fondness for bow ties, McCune is said to be popular among faculty. Some non-teaching staff at Hayward, however, have complained that he was inaccessible to them.

His 31 years of experience as a Cal State professor and administrator, along with his availability because of his impending retirement, led to his selection Wednesday, trustees said.

“We needed somebody who had the respect of all his peers and who truly understood the system. Ellis fit the bill,” said William D. Campbell, who was elected Wednesday as chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Marianthi Lansdale, outgoing head of the board, said the trustees moved to immediately replace Reynolds because they did not want her to serve as a lame duck through Oct. 1. “It was felt our hands would be tied in searching for a new chancellor while (Reynolds) was still in her office,” Lansdale said.

Asked why Carter was not chosen as acting chancellor, despite Reynolds’ announcement last month that he would be the choice, Lansdale replied: “We thought this would allow for a smoother transition.”

Carter is to keep his job for the foreseeable future, officials said.

Reynolds’ tenure officially ends July 31, but she is to go on vacation immediately, with McCune taking over.

Reynolds, chancellor since 1982, refused to comment about Wednesday’s events or about her personal plans, according to a spokesman. She reportedly is a finalist to become higher education chief in West Virginia.

The controversial raises that led to Reynolds’ resignation increased pay for vice chancellors and campus presidents as much as 28%, to a range of $130,000 to $150,000. Reynolds’ salary was to jump 43%, from $136,248 to $195,000. Legislators and faculty were enraged both by the size of the raises and the fact they were agreed upon in closed session by trustees and Reynolds’ staff, despite prior promises of openness.

On April 20, the trustees rolled back those raises to 4.18% and accepted Reynolds’ resignation.

Reynolds, a zoologist, is entitled to a year in a position created for former top administrators to ease back into teaching. In that job, she would earn about $104,000. Her top pay as a professor the following year would be about $58,000.

In another step to clean up the university system’s image, trustees on Wednesday formed a committee to explore the sale of the Bel-Air estate used as the chancellor’s residence and consider buying another house close to the Cal State headquarters in Long Beach.

The Bel-Air house, donated to the university in 1972 and worth at least $2 million, has become a symbol of extravagance. The university spent about $240,000 on repairs, maintenance and staff at the house over the last three years. Reynolds can stay there only through Aug. 31, trustees decided Wednesday.

McCune said he will not live in the Bel-Air house and will rent a Long Beach apartment instead.