Chancellor visits campus to get input on student success fees

Silvia Gutierrez

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A majority of the voices heard at the student success fees open forum gave praise and recognition to the benefits students have received from the allocation of those fees. The forum was held by the California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office and Associated Students.

Timothy White, CSU chancellor, said the forum was for members to listen to comments and concerns from the crowd and report back to the rest of the board members.

At CSUN, student success fees are known as campus quality fees. The $108 fee goes to fund various campus programs and services.

Some of the most talked about services that get covered are longer library hours, tutoring and peer programs, computer labs and class availability.

Students and faculty from CSU Fullerton and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo were well represented along with a few students and faculty from CSUN.

Ric Alviso, chair of the department of music at CSUN said the campus quality fee has created difficulties for the department.

Alviso said that, in the past, students have helped pay for recitals out of their own pockets.

Another issue is that the growing rate for piano accompanists has been hard for the department’s budget to afford.

He said they would like to “be able to get back to the kind of quality students are expecting.”

To achieve this, the Department of Music would need the campus quality fee to help cover performances.

CSU Trustee Douglas Faigin said the funds student success fees bring are much needed.

“Extra funding is not only desired but necessary,” Faigin said.

Demontea Thompson, student representative for the USU Board Directors, is concerned about particular communities that are not served on campus such as foster youth, transfer students, and Dreamers.

“I think this resource — these funds — can be utilized in (these) areas,” Thompson said.

Associated Students (AS) Graduate Senator Catherine Jermany said there is room for improvement and recommended building an AB 540 center for transfer students to help them acclimate to the campus.

Transparency was a consistent topic. While the members of the panel ensure that the breakdown of the fee is open to the public — and viewable online — some question the degree of transparency.

Jorge Reyes, AS chief of staff, told the panel he wanted to see more transparency.

Reyes asked, “More visibility for where our campus quality funds go towards our athletics program.”

Jermany said, “transparency allows for students to see that we’re not just being charged for something.”

Jeffrey Armstrong, Cal Poly SLO president, said fees vary for each campus. Currently 12 campuses charge student success fees.

“One size does not fit all,” he said.

Members of the Board of Trustees will travel to Sonoma State University on Thursday to get more student feedback. The next CSU Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Nov. 12.