CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani has issued the following information and statements in response to Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr’s announcement Tuesday evening that he has launched a broad investigation into the California State University, Stanislaus Foundation to include an examination of its finances and the alleged dumping of documents into a university dumpster.
“We welcome the investigation and expect it will clarify how a foundation document could have ended up in a state senator’s hands,” said CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani.
The addendum of the campus’s contract with Sarah Palin released yesterday at a press conference by state Senator Leland Yee was in a recycle bin in the office of CSU Stanislaus Foundation Executive Director Susana Gajic-Bruyea. After learning about the allegations made at the press conference, Gajic-Bruyea searched for the document in her private recycling bin and found only that document missing. Campus police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the document taken from the recycle bin.
In response to Tuesday morning’s press conference hosted by Yee, California State University, Stanislaus Foundation Board President Matt Swanson made the following statement:
“It’s a dark day when an entity that’s sole purpose is to raise money for student services and university programs is falsely accused of wrong-doing. The foundation is a 501c3 that raises money for the university. Our sole aim is to raise money for university programs and student services. Given declining state support for higher education, private fundraisers are more vital than ever.”
In response to allegations that documents were destroyed, Russ Giambelluca, CSU Stanislaus Vice President of Business and Finance said, “No one was instructed to destroy vital information, and no one did so.”
Since announcing the Gala event, CSU Stanislaus has faced a myriad of false accusations and implications from a variety of individuals and organizations.
“The CSU Stanislaus Foundation is not interested in political theater or in being used as a political pawn. Its mission is to raise money to support the university, and it is doing just that by bringing a speaker to campus like Sarah Palin who is driving ticket sales to unprecedented levels,” said Shirvani.
Shirvani continued, “The CSU Stanislaus Foundation responded to Public Records Act requests for a copy of the contract and speakers fee by stating that as a 501c3 foundation, it is not subject to the Public Records Act and for good reason. The Washington Speakers Bureau contract includes a confidentiality clause that the Foundation cannot breach even if it wanted to. The Foundation has clearly stated that it will be happy to provide the net costs and net revenue of the event, which would be sufficient for anyone whose true goal is transparency. The Foundation has made it clear that no public funds are being used to support the event. The Board President has also made it clear that no existing foundation funds are being used to support the event. Every dime used to pay for this gala is new, privately-raised money.
“The June 25 Gala is expected to raise between $100,000 and $200,000, which will go toward enhancing students’ education. That is money that would otherwise not be available to support our students. The Foundation Board should be applauded for working hard to fulfill its mission by raising money to support CSU Stanislaus when state support for higher education continues to dwindle.
“Sarah Palin’s speaking engagement will raise more money than any single fundraiser that CSU Stanislaus has had in the past, including from people who have never previously donated to the university or supported university events. Whether one agrees with her politically or not, the money raised from this event is a good thing for this university.”
As announced last month, the CSU Stanislaus Foundation is holding a Fundraising Gala on June 25 that features Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker. The purpose of the event is to raise money to benefit University programs and student services. It is expected to raise $100,000 to $200,000. The $500 individual tickets are sold out, but a few sponsorships are still available.
“The Foundation could not be more pleased with the support it has received from the community,” said Swanson. “The June 25 event is nearly sold out, and we feel confident that our goal of raising funds for the university at CSU Stanislaus will be a great success.”
The Foundation is a 501c3 that raises money for CSU Stanislaus. Every California State University has a Foundation. The University’s VP for Advancement, VP for Business and Finance, and the campus President must sit on the Foundation Board as non-voting members. Chancellor Executive Order 732 policies and procedures pertaining to auxiliary organizations states that these members of the University must be on the Foundation Board and must see and have Foundation documents in order to ensure the funds are being properly used.