The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Proposed campus quality fee will be determined by alternative consulation

A recent proposal by the Senate Executive Committee to increase student fees to cover the expenses of a variety of student resources will be determined by CSUN President Jolene Koester before the end of the semester.

The Campus Quality Fee Proposal advocates for an increase in student fees by $100 per student, over a period of the next three years, which will amount to a total of over $7 million.

“For the past 30 years the timing to increase the fees was never right,” said CSUN Provost Harry Hellenbrand. “Every year, there’s always a reason to postpone the fee whether it was approved or not, the longer we waited the deeper the hole.”

Due to low turnouts of student’s voting in past referendums, Koester decided to utilize alternative consultation. Alternative consultation is a process by which surveys, petitions, forums, and feedback from students, faculty and administration would be reviewed by the Student Fee Advisory Committee. The SFAC would make a recommendation to Koester, who ultimately makes the decision to approve the proposal.

The money allocated will be divided into five different sections. The athletic department would receive the largest portion of the money with 22 percent going to athletic scholarships, 14 percent towards “campus spirit” and an additional 6 percent applied towards athletic equipment and facilities.

The scholarship budget for the athletics department comes from Associated Students as part of the current student fee to support A.S. explained Rick Mazzuto, director of the athletics administration.

“During the ’07-’08 year, we didn’t know how much money we had in our budget,” said Mazzuto. “The fact is, the process we go through to allocate money is made by request, and our budget doesn’t keep pace with inflation, which has a negative effect.”

Campus spirit is a critical measure in the development of our teams’ success in competition with our Big West peers and as well as outstanding non-conference opponents, explained Mazzuto. “We believe our increased success will play a key role in enhancing campus identity and spirit.”

Advancements in technology, which will fund CSUN with new equipment such as computers, projectors, wireless networks and other technological gadgets, would receive 27 percent of the total.

“We want to make sure we stay current with these technologies that are changing,” said Hilary Baker, vice president of information technology.

The Instructionally Related Activities deals with student activities such as productions, publications, musical performances, student projects and other activities related to any course curriculum. According to the information provided online, the IRA fund would receive $1 million from A.S. if the proposal is passed because the student fees would cover the funding for the athletic scholarships.

The course specific fee, which primarily deals with lab fees, supplies and other necessary materials, would receive 14 percent of the money allocated. Currently, the courses with lab work receive $300,000 from student fees, which does not cover the $1 million for the lab expenses according the information on the website.

The proposal would allocate 14 percent of the money towards student support services which consist of counseling, career centers, and tutoring.

The Educational Resources Committee introduced a written resolution to the senate faculty to support the campus quality fee.

“The resolution mostly addressed campus needs for funding on academics,” said faculty president Jennifer Matos. “I think on some level the issues with CSU are that CSU is going to get a series of significant budget cuts (and) under funding and I think it’s a reason to start moving on so we can implement the proposal.”

There have been mixed reactions with the increasing fees burdened upon the students and the use of alternative consultation as opposed to a student referendum. In 2006, a proposition to raise student fees to support A.S. and IRA was voted down in a student referendum. According to Matos, 1,500 to 2,000 students vote during a student referendum, which is about 8 percent of the student community.

“It’s not really fair and not right to force someone to pay for something that won’t really be benefiting them,” said sophomore Joanne Thompson, an English major. “I’m fine with resources that we have.”

“The official decision of our position is to not support the proposal,” said Theresa Montano, president of the California Faculty Association’s CSUN chapter. “We can’t keep lobbying on the backs of our students every time there is a budget crisis. The number of students with low income families that attend CSUN continues to grow.”

Montano said that some faculty in CFA disagrees with the organization’s stand against the proposal. However, Montano mentioned that she does support the various departments that need money but she disagrees with raising student fees to compensate for the services.

Montano pointed out four reasons why she doesn’t support the proposal. First, she said that it’s not right to put the burden on students. Secondly, the proposal damages a member of the CFA’s alliance, the students.

The CFA is in an alliance with the entire CSU, which is a joined effort of students, faculty, administrations and other CSU organizations.

“It doesn’t seem right as part of an alliance to raise the fees on one of our groups,” Montano said. “To do something that harms the coalition is wrong.”

The third reason is the timing. Montano said that at a time where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s potential budget cuts to education looms, which is estimated that the CSU would lose $386 million in funding, now is not the right time to impose the fee on the students. Lastly, Montano disagreed with the process of using alternative consultation. She thought that not allowing students to vote on this issue that’s directly affecting them was wrong.

“In a campus community, every stake holder, which include students, faculty and administration should have a say in the issues directly affecting them,” said A.S. President Adam Haverstock. “I don’t like the fact that it denies the students the right to vote on their campus fees.”

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