Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.52
Liaison Megan Varnadore
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Sonoma State University
PA-3: Inclusive and Participatory Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.63 / 3.00 Megan Varnadore
Director of Resiliency and Sustainability Operations
Risk Management & Safety Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies through which the following stakeholders can regularly participate in the governance of the institution?:
Yes or No
Students Yes
Academic staff Yes
Non-academic staff Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal participatory or shared governance bodies:

Sonoma State University is part of the 23 campus California State University (CSU) system. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the oversight of the California State University. The Board adopts rules, regulations, and policies governing the California State University. The Board has authority over curricular development, use of property, development of facilities, and fiscal and human resources management. The Board of Trustees has 25 members, of which there is representation by students, faculty and alumni. https://www2.calstate.edu/csu-system/board-of-trustees/Pages/about-the-bot.aspx

At the local level, Sonoma State University has the following shared governance bodies:
The Associated Students (AS) is an independent student non-profit corporation owned and governed by the students under the leadership of an elected board of directors. The Senate of the Associated Students serves as both the Board of Directors of the Associated Students auxiliary corporation and the legislative body of the student government. The Senate is made up of 5 executive officers and 11 Senators, all of whom are voting members. The executives are the Chair of the Senate (serves as an administrative officer and chair), President, Executive Vice-President, Vice-President of Finance, and Vice-President of External Affairs. The Senators are the Senator for the School of Arts & Humanities, Senator for the School of Business & Economics, Senator for the School of Education, Senator for the School of Science & Technology, Senator for the School of Social Sciences, Senator for Community Affairs, Senator for Diversity, Senator for Involvement, Senator for Student Services, Senator for Sustainability, and Senator for Undeclared Students.
The Senate serves as the ultimate management authority of the corporation and are elected from amongst and by the members (all regularly enrolled students of the university) of the organization.


Each year, the Cal State Student Association (CSSA) is granted the opportunity to nominate at least two, but no more than five CSU students to the California State Governor. At which time, the Governor will select one student to serve a two-year term as a CSU Student Trustee.


​​In adopting the Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960, the State Legislature established the Board of Trustees of The California State Colleges (designated "The California State University" on Jan. 1, 1982) to "succeed to the powers, duties, and functions with respect to the management, administration, and control of the state colleges." Prior to this, the State Board of Education had jurisdiction over the separate colleges.

The Donahoe Act also restructured the individual campuses into the nation's largest system of senior higher education. The Board of Trustees governs this diverse and complex 23-campus system by:

1. Developing broad administrative policy for the campuses;
2. Providing broad direction and coordination to campus curricular development;
3. Overseeing the efficient management of funds, property, facilities, and investments by the system and the campuses;
4. Appointing the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors for the system, and the Presidents for the campuses as chief executives with certain delegated responsibilities; communicating to the people of California an understanding and
5. Appreciation of the current effectiveness and the future needs of the California State University.


The Academic Senate is the governing body of the faculty. Its committees oversee the curriculum, academic policies, the reappointment, tenure and promotion of faculty and it is the official faculty body to provide opinion on matters affecting the University.

The Staff Council
All non-faculty employees comprise the at-large membership of the Staff Council.
The Staff Council’s purpose:
The Staff Council shall report directly to the campus President or the President’s designee.
The Staff Council is a recognized body within shared governance on the Sonoma State campus.
The Staff Council shall only provide input on issues not covered by collective bargaining.
The Staff Council may sponsor programs, events, and various services in an effort to promote a culture of respect, cooperation, and understanding across the campus community.
The Staff Council may offer advice on community and academic-related matters.
The SSU Staff Council and its representatives acknowledge SSU’s core values, including inclusiveness and embracing the diversity of people and beliefs.

Current active committees on campus can be found at https://www.sonoma.edu/about/administration/committees. The make up of these committees include members from, or appointed by, the Associated Students, Academic Senate and Student Council.

Total number of individuals on the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of students representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of academic staff representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of non-academic staff representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of women serving as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Percentage of official members of the highest governing body that are women:

Website URL where information about the institution’s highest governing body may be found:
Does the institution host or support one or more formal bodies through which external stakeholders have a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them?:

A brief description of the campus-community council or equivalent body that gives external stakeholders a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them:

At Sonoma State University there are a few committees/Boards that require community participation.
The Green Music Center's, the performing arts center at Sonoma State University, Board of Advisors is comprised mostly of community members with campus constituents serving as Ex-Officio members. The mission of the Green Music Center is to present the most compelling artists of our time, to investigate ideas, and to provide access to diverse artistic experiences that educate, connect, and inspire Sonoma State University and neighboring North Bay communities. Built to bring together artists, students, families, music-lovers, and more, the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University is a gathering place for our diverse communities in Sonoma County to explore and enjoy the things that move and inspire us. https://gmc.sonoma.edu/about-gmc/
The Sonoma State Enterprises, a not-for-profit, auxiliary corporation of Sonoma State University, established to provide services that are not eligible for state funding, but are nonetheless crucial to the life of the campus, has two positions on its board of directors for community member representatives. https://afd.sonoma.edu/sonoma-state-enterprises
The Sonoma State University Foundation is a nonprofit organization that plays an essential role in sustaining and enhancing the excellence of Sonoma State University through the raising and management of philanthropic support on behalf of the University, stewarding private donations to the University, and managing the University's endowment. Its Board of Directors includes community members, some are also alumnus and some are not. http://foundation.sonoma.edu/
The President's Sustainability Advisory Council has long collaborated with North Bay Forward. Founded as a collaboration between SSU and Sustainable North Bay, cross-sector community partners, faculty, students and staff to working to build sustainability and resilience in the North Bay Region. Today, North Bay Forward
continues as part of the Regional Resilience working group. https://sustainablessu.sonoma.edu/events/north-bay-forward-lunch-series

Number of people from underrepresented groups serving as official members of the institution’s highest governing body.:

Website URL where information about the institution’s governance structure is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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