SSU closes California Institute of Human Services

Sonoma State University will phase out a department that may face substantial penalties for its handling of state and federal money.

The top two officials of the California Institute of Human Services were placed on leave last month and an audit of its books is being done, SSU officials said.

Although the audit isn?t complete, officials said a decision has been made to close the institute, which trains social service providers, as its state and federal grant funding expires.

?It?s winding down,? said Laurence Furukawa-Schlereth, SSU?s vice president for finance and administration.

The closure will take two to three years as the individual grants lapse and are reviewed to see if they still fit within SSU?s educational mission, said Susan Kashack, associate vice president of communications.

The grants that SSU decides to keep, Kashack said, ?can be incorporated very easily into the more traditional part of the university. It is just efficient.?

?We are not renewing some of the grants, unless they are directly tied to the university?s education mission,? Kashack said. ?It probably will not even be called California Institute for Human Service three years from now because these grants will be integrated into the educational program.?

She said the allegations of mismanagement are not the direct reason the institute is being closed, but the decision was the result of the broader review the allegations prompted.

?The institute has trained many, many people to do good things throughout the state and community, but with limited resources and limited time, we have to make sure that everything we do points toward our mission,? Kashack said.

The grants have been for such programs as training Head Start teachers or recruiting students for AmeriCorps.

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