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Cal Poly President's travel expenses questioned, university says necessary for fundraising

Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong spent more than any other CSU president on travel expenses, according to a report by the Los Angeles News Group.

A chart in the Long Beach Press-Telegram shows Armstrong's expenses came to $60,871.58 for the period of July 2013 through June 2014.

Cal State Fullerton's president came in second at $42,437.18.

Joshua Dulaney wrote the piece for the Press-Telegram and said the CSU took a roughly $1 billion cut in state allocations during the recession. As a result, many presidents are now forced into extensive fundraising and lobbying roles.

There's generally a six-to-one return when it comes to the money spent on travel, Dulaney said he was told by the CSU Chancellor's office in Long Beach. It's not clear whether Armstrong's spending resulted in similar returns.

Cal Poly said the president's travel expenses reflect his ongoing effort to build donor and industry relations to support the university's costly programs.

"This is especially true for President Armstrong as he leads the effort to support Cal Poly’s renowned Learn by Doing curriculum," said Matt Lazier, Director of Media Relations. "The president’s travel also reflects his membership in a number of CSU committees as well as industry and academic boards that help inform his fundraising efforts and the continued improvement of Cal Poly’s academic programs."

The California Faculty Association of Cal Poly's Graham Archer said he was "shocked" by the amont spent, and said it adds to the growing list of expenses by Cal Poly's administration.

Archer said he's not sure whether the spending is justified, but said it's "hard to believe" that it would be.