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CSUS president Alexander Gonzales defends previous support of African hunts


Sacramento State University’s president said he should have been more careful when he helped win permission for hunts in Africa to supply exotic stuffed animals for a natural history museum.

President Alexander Gonzalez acknowledged he had written letters that were used by auto dealer Paul Snider to secure special licenses to hunt 84 animals that could not be killed under a standard Tanzanian hunting license. Three species were listed as in danger of extinction by the World Conservation Union, an international coalition of nations and nonprofit groups.

“Of course, hindsight is 20/20,” Gonzalez wrote in an e-mail sent to faculty and staff Tuesday. “Looking back, I should have used a much higher level of scrutiny regarding the original letter and the later follow-up.”

The letters, written by Gonzalez in 2004 and 2006, were released in response to a public records request by The Sacramento Bee.

Gonzalez said he initially supported the hunts because a possible campus museum showing Snider’s “superb collection” would have been valuable for area school children. Snider and his wife, Renee, had pledged $2.4 million to build the museum, but plans were halted in July because of campus arguments over the value of hunting.

“When I was made aware that there wasn’t consensus and support for the collection, the initiative was abandoned,” Gonzalez said.

Ruth Ballard, assistant chair of the biological sciences department, who opposed the museum, said she was pleased Gonzalez took responsibility.

“It makes me want less to put him on the extinct species list,” she said.

–Associated Press

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