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Our View: CSU’s role in Todos Santos reduces credibility of the University

In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, houses were sold with the promise of a beach side pool and golf course. Now in Todos Santos, Mexico, houses are being offered with the promise of Colorado State University.

Two years ago, the CSU administration accepted a deal that would put them in the footprint of a major housing development looking to transform the small town of Todos Santos into a tourist destination, with sustainability, farming and ecotourism as its main selling points. The University accepted a facility built by the housing developer MIRA where the University could conduct research, workshops and other community activities. 


Yet this donation that CSU officials have called a great opportunity has proven to be problematic. To clarify, it is not a gift: It is an agreement that in part makes the University accountable for maintaining the image of the controversial housing development, Tres Santos.

Seeing the affects from Cabo, where communities were diminished and lost in the shadow of major developments, some residents from Todos Santos have come to see Tres Santos as a development that could be environmentally, socially and economically harmful to the small oasis community that was isolated from the rest of the peninsula for generations.

The activist group Truth Santos has proven to be a strong voice against Tres Santos, calling into question the company’s intentions and permits while also raising concerns about the possible environmental impacts associated with a development that could drain the town of precious resources such as water.

At the same time, Truth Santos has questioned the role of Colorado State University, who they claim is an amenity meant to make the possibly harmful development more palatable.

In response to this group, the housing development has downplayed the concerns of Truth Santos and has called them a group on the extreme side of activism. While investigating this story, Collegian reporters have faced situations where the two sides have claimed the other is wrong.

It is difficult when our own University is thrown into a dispute where credibility is sometimes the only factor in judging what may be fact or fiction. CSU is supposed to be an institution where knowledge and academic values trump business. Yet, even if the claims of Truth Santos prove to be exaggerated, the documents they obtained show a side of CSU mostly unknown to the public, a side willing to work in tandem with a private company that is first and foremost concerned about its bottom line.

While on the base level, the academic involvement of students, researchers and teachers could have beneficial impacts on the community, they are driven by a business connection that could alter our University’s ability to be autonomous in the pursuit of research and academics.

Furthermore, it is a connection that could redefine the goals of a public university existing in an era where the  state and public consistently under-fund higher education. This situation calls into question what it takes for an academic institution to thrive in an era where state and public funding is minimal.

Although having a Mexican campus and facility looks great on a brochure for prospective students, a partnership this problematic lessens the credibility of our institution and reduces our name to the level of a marketing ploy.


The Collegian Editorial Board can be reached at

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Comments (13)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
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  • J

    Joaquin SalgdoFeb 2, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    To Adams, Bodian, Obstfeld and the Collegian semi-reporter who wrote the uninformed and biased article-

    What you wrote is just the simple mark of low class Americans trying to live an upscale life in poor and jobless Todos Santos, and desperately want to stop progress in town, we as local business owners and people that actually work are eager for this town to bloom and show the world its potential, you on the other side want to continue to live under your miserable pension as rich guys in this town that has been forgotten and disregarded form development-

    Only 30 to 35 uninformed fishermen are the ones that are standing up to something that they do not understand nor want- and their leaders are being funded by americans who want to make a living out of videos and lies like Lisa Jackson and Sarah Teale-

    Open your eyes students, speak wieth the peolple not with their leaders that cleary have other agenda-

    • K

      Kevin EddingsJun 2, 2017 at 12:35 am

      A textbook example of an ad hominem argument.

  • A

    Amir ArbermanJan 31, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I have been blocked from commenting on all of the Colorado State University Todos Santos pages. Why might that be when I only questioned Mr. Drew Wilson’s and the university’s connection to the depredatory and rapacious developer Tres Santos?

  • C

    Cachano HigueraJan 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    a very small very unhappy frustrated group of foreign and some Mexicans
    from Mexico city lazy freeloaders are those who criticize the project
    they should be expelled from Mexico, they are causing a division in the town in fact 98% of the local people agree with
    this source of employment, fix your culture and stay at home, Baja is not the place of alien haters

  • P

    Peter ObstfeldJan 20, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Tres Santos as a development that could be environmentally, socially and economically harmful to the small oasis

    the possible environmental impacts associated with a development that could drain the town of precious resources such as water

    meant to make the possibly harmful development more palatable.

    I live down here in the winter and anyone that’s informed and half intelligent KNOWS we are long passed the” could be ,possibly” parts mention in you WIMPY article “take the gloves off already and do some REAL reporting !!!

  • P

    Pat AdamsJan 20, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you, Skyler Leonard and Ellie Mulder for coming down to Todos Santos to get much deeper impressions of what is going on with respect to CSU, Tres Santos, the community of Todos Santos, the fishermen at Punta Lobos and all the various social, economic, and environmental impacts the Tres Santos real estate development is having and will have on Todos Santos. You have written several fine, well-pressed articles concerning these issues. Concerning CSU no one forced this university to sign on the dotted line when Tres Santos made a condition of their participation and use of the land in Todos Santos to be a promise that their employees would not criticize the Tres Santos real estate project. CSU could have said no, that their principle of academic freedom would be compromised. But they said yes. CSU tries to hide behind this agreement and deny it, but the Colorado Open Records Act makes it very clear that CSU did agree to this stipulation. And indeed you have not heard any CSU employees utter any criticisms of this massive development of 4,472 dwellings for which Tres Santos has been permitted by a Mexican environmental agency so eager to accept foreign investment that they overlook many important environmental considerations. Even though I haven’t attended any of the classes at the CSU Todos Santos Center I don’t believe any of the professsors have expressed any criticisms of the lack of sustainability of this project or we would have heard about this from students attending the programs. This makes a mockery of the supposedly “green” principles Colorado State University is known for. The same green principles should be followed in a host community in far away Mexico and the same academic freedom should exist there.

  • S

    Sharon StoneJan 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Thank-you Stephan Bodian for your excellent comment. I don’t feel competent to comment further; but I know how I feel about this project …. and it isn’t good. Hopefully the community can put a stop to this degradation of our pueblo magico.

  • S

    Stephan BodianJan 20, 2016 at 10:17 am

    As a gringo living in Todos Santos for almost three years, I want to commend you on this eloquent, well-researched, and strongly worded editorial. Despite its attempts to paint itself with a green brush, Tres Santos has already violated its commitments by destroying the livelihood of the local fishing cooperative and depleting scarce and precious water. In addition, construction of the development will bring hundreds of employees from other parts of Mexico who will overrun this tranquil pueblo and bring overcrowding and possible crime and discord. Todos Santos was named a “Pueblo Magico” by the Mexican government because of its beauty and heritage, which is what drew us ex-pats to move here. We appreciate your support in keeping the university from associating itself with this misguided project and helping preserve the “magico” in Todos Santos.