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A Commitment to Fiscal Stewardship

CSUSM Campus

Cal State San Marcos is committed to transparency, fiscal stewardship and the public trust. Together, we are deeply committed to and passionate about our institutional mission and the students who inspire us.


In July 2019, President Ellen Neufeldt and the California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office received a complaint alleging excessive spending and the misuse of public funds by a California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) employee. As a result of the complaint, President Neufeldt requested an investigation by the CSU Office of Audit and Advisory Services. Additionally, she directed Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) to complete a comprehensive review of travel expenditures across all divisions, including expenditures funded by both the state and CSUSM Corporation.

A Video Message From President Neufeldt

A Message From President Neufeldt

As you know, during my first month at CSUSM last year, I received a complaint calling into question the use of funds by one of our employees. I immediately requested an independent investigation by the CSU Chancellor’s Office around this complaint and the university began a comprehensive review of University travel expenditures.

What we discovered is that the vast majority of our faculty and staff are working hard each day to make the right choices and honor our role as trusted public servants. However, the independent investigation by the Chancellor’s Office revealed that a member of our community took advantage of their position and influence to fraudulently use university resources to their personal benefit. Upon reading the report, I was in disbelief that someone would violate the sacred trust placed upon leaders of this university to such a degree.

In our own review of all CSUSM travel expenditures, we identified trends where some travelers frequently purchased upgraded airfare or selected hotels where the lodging costs exceeded the maximum rates. This pattern and culture of upgraded travel doesn’t live up to who we are or what we are about.

Actions speak louder than words, so we are going to show through our deeds that we want to earn the trust of our students, our families, our faculty and staff, and our community. We have taken appropriate personnel actions and, outlined here, are the steps we have taken to improve our fiscal stewardship moving forward. More details are available here on our newly launched fiscal stewardship webpage.

I pledge to work alongside all of you as we lead from our shared values. We can’t let this moment hold us back. We WILL grow and improve; and will do right by our students and our community.

CSUSM is a place of optimism, of opportunity and of innovation. This is what I’ve found here – it’s what defines us.

Thank you for all that you do to make this such a special place. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Together, we will work through this and come out stronger – I know in my heart, that’s who we are.


Ellen Neufeldt

Important Links

View the report from the
CSU Audit and Advisory Services
Following a complaint alleging excessive spending and the misuse of public funds, President Neufeldt requested an independent investigation from the CSU.

Read the CSUSM
Internal Review Report

CSUSM also completed an internal comprehensive review of all travel expenditures, including travel funded by both the state and the CSUSM Corporation.

Learn about the steps
CSUSM is taking

CSUSM is committed to leading from our shared values and is taking immediate action.

Share your feedbackPlease let us know if you have ideas, suggestions or know of ways to better enhance CSUSM’s value of fiscal stewardship.

Past Fiscal Stewardship Communications

Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019
Friday, February 28