Library patron withholds donation from CSUF amid controversial firing of Clem Guthro as Pollak Library Dean

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A hand withholds money from another hand
(Dalia Quiroz / Daily Titan)

At least one unidentified library patron has decided not to make a contribution to CSUF in response to the sudden firing of Clem Guthro as Dean of the Pollak Library, said Joanne Gass, president of the Patrons of the Library Board of Governors, in an email.

Gass said the patron decided not to include CSUF in their estate planning, which would send a certain percentage of funds to the university upon their death.

“I would say that virtually every member of the patrons were perplexed that (Guthro), who appeared to be doing an extremely fine job, was dismissed so abruptly,” said Howard Seller, library patron and faculty emeritus of the CSUF English department.

Some members of the Patrons of the Library will be meeting with CSUF interim President Fram Virjee this week to share their concerns about the future of the library in light of Guthro’s firing, Gass said in the email.

Jeff Cook, CSUF chief communications officer, confirmed the meeting will take place in a closed session.

The former library dean was called into the provost’s office and dismissed on March 2 over an alleged struggle for control with the Division of Information Technology over library space, according to emails between faculty.

The emails between faculty also allege Kari Knutson Miller, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs, sided with Amir Dabirian, IT vice president, during the conflict.

Dabirian denied claims that he had conflict involving former library deans.

“To be dismissed for something like that is, in my opinion, relatively unheard of. And I’ve been associated with the university since 1965,” Seller said.

In a March 14 phone interview, Knutson Miller would not comment on Guthro’s firing, but said the entire campus community, including Dabirian, has voice in the discussion of the library’s future.

Knutson Miller, alongside Emily Bonney, interim library dean, met with the library patrons at their last meeting to address the leadership change, where Seller said Knutson Miller didn’t provide specific answers to “any questions that the (patrons) had.”

Seller said he didn’t think there was a single person who was “not disappointed” with Knutson Miller’s response to Guthro’s sudden firing.

Amy Wells contributed to this story.

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