With the recent approval of a 10 percent hike in student fees by the CSU Board of Trustees, no doubt many students are fired up with rage at the board. Many and loud are those who oppose fee increases of any kind, whether it’s because they think many students will have to struggle with the increase or because they believe their current tuition is spent on the wrong things.
Of course the Board of Trustees says that it’s needed to keep the CSU’s growing at the same pace as enrollment. The CSU system actually seems to be lagging behind enrollment. Classes are fewer, have more students and are harder to get into. Faculty pay lags behind the rest of the nation in a state where the cost of living is the highest.
At least one of the trustees seems to get it. The Sundial reported that Trustee Melinda Guzman Moore recommended that an independent financial institution analyze our budget. I would like to see that. I have to wonder where our 76 percent increase over five years has gone.
I expect that the Board of Trustees expected our reaction, though. The plain fact of the matter seems to be that they don’t really care what the students have to say about the fee increases. The Sundial reported that, during the Board of Trustees meeting, they considered the student objections to the fee increase for all of two minutes. They know what we’re going to say, and, while our thoughts are duly noted, their institution needs more money.
The Board of Trustees brushing off student criticism is not at all surprising to me. Time and again, I’ve seen how administrators just ignore what students have to say, unless it goes something like, “Hooray for (insert your institution here)!”
Especially when it comes to criticism, the administrators know any grumbling from the student body will eventually die down. After all, we’re too busy to think about these things for too long.
Even the things we are consistently angry about, like the parking situation and tuition fees, aren’t really things we do anything about. We bitch and moan about spending 30 minutes trying to find a parking spot, but in the end we let it go, rationalizing that in another semester, another year, another three years I’ll have graduated and moved on, perhaps joining the alumni association.
It’s this ever-changing nature of the student body that lets the CSU system continually do whatever it wants. Faculty and administrators count how long they’ve been at a university in decades, not in semesters. For them, this is their home, we’re just visiting. There’s no need for the administrators to worry if the current student body happens to be quite antagonistic. The next one may be more malleable to their suggestions.
Of course, as thinking, college-educated people there are ways for us to fight back. It’s a tired criticism of youth in general, but we could always start doing the standard writing to your representatives and remembering to vote on Election Day.
There is a far more interesting idea that has been thrown onto the table, though. With the recent threat of a faculty strike, students have been discussing a strike of their own. Like an extremely shy and quiet person who suddenly explodes in rage of emotion, perhaps if the whole student body got up and said, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore,” we could get the Board of Trustees to pay attention to us. Who knows, it might even make them rethink their 10 percent.