In a two-day meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, the CSU Board of Trustees passed two parts of a resolution that is contingent on the outcome of Proposition 30, but postponed a third.
The first would roll back the most recent 9-percent tuition hike should Proposition 30 pass in November. However, the second part would increase tuition by $150 per semester should Proposition 30 fail.
This plan was discussed in great detail and approved by the Committee of Finance on Tuesday. The Board voted Wednesday to pass the resolution with minimal discussion.
The third resolution, which was postponed until the November meeting, deals with three specific fee increases, such as the “super senior fee” that would require students to pay an additional sum if they exceed 150 total units.
A second fee under the third resolution would be for those who repeat a course. The Committee on Finance Agenda proposed a $100 fee per unit for those students who choose to retake a course. This fee, stated the agenda, “is intended to lead students to make careful decisions with regards to repeating a course.”
Many of the board members discussed reasons that students would need to retake a course. Concern was expressed that many students retake a course they do not necessarily need in order to improve their grade-point average.
Not all members agreed, however.
“Are we trying to change behavior, or increase revenue?” questioned board member Lupe Garcia.
Acting Chancellor Charles Reed argued that his previous attempts to modify behavior have not been working and that this fee is necessary to try to garner success. Yet Garcia still expressed concerns over the need to charge students in order to change the behavior. An agreement was not met.
The last fee under the third resolution is referred to as the “third-tier fee.” In addition to the split between students who take six units or less and those that take seven or more, this resolution would introduce a third fee for those students that take more than 17 units.
This would present problems for students whose majors require them to be able to take more than 17 units a semester, such as art students or engineering students at Cal State Fullerton. Many students present at the meeting expressed concerns as well.
Robert Turnage, the CSU associate vice chancellor for budget, said that although the board is aware of specific cases, it would be impossible to write a resolution to accommodate every exception.
The timing of this discussion was called into question as well, to which Turnage responded.
“We have to have things in place ready to go when we know the outcome of the election,” he said.
Reed urged the board to deal with it as soon as possible in order to prevent a possible catastrophe after Nov. 6.
“I believe strongly that the contingencies need to be acted on now, not kicked down the road, because nobody is gonna save us,” said Reed.
In the end, both aspects of the first resolution passed, meaning that students will either be reimbursed or will have their tuition hiked again in November.
The fee resolution, which included the three potential fee additions, was voted for postponement and has been tabled for further discussion the next board meetings in November, after the federal election.
The public was given time to voice their opinions before the board went into official discussion and voting.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday, students in the audience were vocal, shouting things like, “Stop cutting our classes!” and “You’re slowing down graduation!” in reference to the “super senior” fee proposal.
As was the case Tuesday, on Wednesday, faculty and students voiced their discomfort with the way the board was dealing with the possible outcomes of Proposition 30.
“You know, I’d like to see a little bit more respect given to the students and the faculty and the staff,” said Mike Geck, vice president for organizing at Cal State San Marcos and CSU Employees Union representative.
Several students got up to address the board about their displeasure as well.
One student accused the board of being out of touch with students.
Another called on the board to think about the actual faces of the people who their decisions would affect.
“I would like to remind you all that you work because of us. We are the people you affect. So, when you are making these important decisions in the upcoming meetings remember my face and the faces of everyone here?” asked a student speaker who identified herself as Jocelyn.
Another female student from Cal State Long Beach called out Reed on comments he made Tuesday about students and unit counts.
She went on to describe the unit caps that CSULB has in effect to prevent students from registering for too many units and taking up seats that others may need.
On Tuesday, Reed referred to the potential unit cap of 150 as much less stringent in comparison as used that as a basis for an argument in favor of implementing the fee.
Yet the student argued that this sort of comparison was unfounded given that other state education systems are not built in the same way as California’s.
The board will reconvene Nov. 13 and 14 to further discuss potential fee increases in the aftermath of the decisive Nov. 6 decision.