FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Next week thousands of students will flood the Fresno State campus for the first day of the fall semester. As faculty and staff prepare for their arrival, President Joseph Castro addressed them Wednesday letting them know the exciting projects ahead for the university and what changes he hopes to see.
President Castro excitedly took to the stage at the Save Mart Center, welcoming back faculty and staff from summer break. Right off the bat, he pushed a message of promoting unity and inclusion at a time when he said, "our world calls for it."
"We must listen to what's going on in our world and what that means for us as a place where inclusiveness, free speech, civility, and empathy can thrive," said President Castro.
Physical changes on campus include transgender-friendly bathrooms and adhering to LGBT students' requests to be able to go by their name preference. President Castro said Fresno State also just had its first ever retreat for African American students, faculty, and alumni to promote positive inclusion on campus.
President Castro said he's hired 69 new tenure-track faculty at Fresno State. He also said there are more transfer students coming this fall than ever before.
"And that's really good news, that means that our community colleges are preparing more students to come to us," said President Castro.
The university raised requirements for the incoming classes so local students must have at least a 2.3 GPA. Castro also unveiled a new video ad campaign featuring Fresno State football players encouraging people to buy tickets to games. He hopes it reminds people athletes are students first.
The faculty we spoke with said they were pleased with President Castro's address.
"There are some very exciting projects going on around the campus. I'm excited about the new plans for the student union," said Christine Maul, Associate Professor.
"I think he needs to focus on hiring diverse faculty, faculty of color, especially Latino faculty, African American, and native American faculty, and I think he is aware of that," said Cristina Herrera, Chair of Chicano Latin American Studies.
The first day of class at Fresno State is on Monday.