Koester talks advisement to A.S.

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CSUN President Jolene Koester gave a status report to the Associated Students Senate Tuesday that showed an increase in student enrollment and more state funding.

Koester spoke about the approval of the state budget close to its established deadline this summer, which has not happened in nearly 10 years.

“It made planning for this year much easier,” Koester said.

Student fees for the 2006-07 semesters will increase by 8 percent, and the current agreement between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the CSU provides for an increase of no more than 10 percent for subsequent semesters, Koester said.

Koester then talked to the Senate about the overall student experience, focusing on graduation rates and academic advisement issues.

“The university continues to work to improve the graduation rates of students,” Koester said. “We are doing everything we can do to make sure students receive a quality education in a timely manner. We have been studying advisement for four years. We know (advisement) is a problem because all of you have told us so.”

Following her prepared presentation, Koester opened up the floor to questions from the A.S. Senate.

Chante Felix, A.S. Lower Division I senator, questioned the president about official means of communication the university will utilize in order to provide necessary information to students.

Koester described a move on the part of larger corporations away from paper communications, and she compared CSUN to such organizations. E-mail has been the official method of communication at CSUN since Fall 2004.

Peter Gallego, A.S. director of legislative affairs, questioned Koester about her position on Senate Bill 724, a bill that if signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would authorize the CSU to award doctorate degrees in education.

“I believe it is an important bill for the people of the state of California,” Koester said. “It would be a good change in the master plan, and one I fully support.”

A special meeting was then held to discuss the placement of three referendum items on the Fall 2005 campus election ballot.

Elections are scheduled for Oct. 26 and 27 across campus.

The referendum items involved proposed changes to the constitution that govern the operations of the A.S. Senate. Because these changes directly affect the operations of the Senate, it is the responsibility of the CSUN student body to vote on the proposed referendums if they are to be approved for placement on the ballot, according to A.S. Attorney General Hamid Jahangard.

The A.S. Senate could vote to put on the ballot, but the Senate cannot vote to pass the items, Jahangard said.

The three separate referendum items, proposed by Jahangard, confused some of the A.S. senate members.

A.S. President Chad Charton and Vice President Safa Sajadi discussed during the meeting about the best way to address the referendum items.

Charton recommended discussing and voting on each item separately, but Sajadi disagreed and said that if the voting body was familiar enough with the referendum items, that it should vote on them all as a whole.

After further discussion on the referendum items, a number of senators said they were still unclear on exactly what the three referendums proposed consisted of.

At one point in the course of the discussion, A.S. General Manager David Crandall interjected, pointing out that only one of the referendum items could be voted on. In order to vote on all three items, they would have to be posted for public viewing 24-hours prior to the meeting, which did not occur.

The senate decided to postpone voting on whether the proposed items would go the ballot until Sept. 27.

The regularly scheduled A.S. meeting the started, and Charton presented his single agenda item regarding the donation of funds to the campus-wide effort to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

“The proposal here is to allocate $1 from each fee-paying student up to $35,000,” Charton said.

Every CSUN student pays $70 in A.S. fees, and $1 would be taken from that sum and donated to the campus’ relief efforts, according to Charton.

In addition, the action item calls for the passing of resolutions requesting that both the University Corporation and the CSUN Alumni Association match the A.S. donation, according to the A.S. resolution.

Support for the action item was unanimous, and it passed with little debate. The number of students currently enrolled at CSUN will determine the amount of the donation.

Michael Salseda can be reached at michael.salseda@gmail.com.