Need lower fees, more education

Daniel Vasilchuk

Fee increases, which deeply and negatively impact Sacramento State students’ lives, were not directly mentioned Thursday at Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez’s annual fall address.

In his spring address, Gonzalez had said that there would be another increase later in the year. Fair enough, but he should have mentioned something that affects the students so much in the fall address as well.

The State University Fee was increased once more in June, by 5 percent, according to a California State University Public Affairs press release.

Student fees, which are already ridiculously high, are expected to jump even higher in the midst of an unapproved state budget and a rising demand for university funding.

The governor is required by the state constitution to submit a budget to the Legislature in January. The Legislature then works to approve the budget by June.

Gonzalez said education at the CSU is still affordable, despite the rising fees. Gonzalez also said there is a solution to stop the fee increases.

“California has to make a decision to support higher education,” Gonzalez said.

Even if the current proposed $365 million budget is approved by the Legislature, the students might not get their old, relatively low fees back.

In 1979, the fees amounted to only $144. With the recent increase, these fees are nearly 3,000 percent more than what they were in 1979.

Gonzalez said if the funding keeps falling through, it will have to be reconciled somehow.

“More of the financial responsibility for quality instruction will fall to our campus, our supporters and our students,” Gonzalez said.

A greater financial burden can only mean further cuts to faculty and more fee increases, which decreases the quality of our education experience.

Kevin Wehr, president of the Capitol chapter of California Faculty Association, said because of fee increases students often need to get second jobs and work late-night shifts. It is unacceptable that in times of financial hardship the CSU forces fee increases upon its student population.

Many students end up sleeping in class and doing poorly on their homework assignments. While increases in fees do help the campus fund its processes, the students end up suffering.

Because of second jobs, students have less time available for homework and studying. This leads many students to lose sleep in order to finish up assignments.

Wehr said while it is great that Gonzalez’s focus during the fall address has largely been on Destination 2010, that focus should also have been somewhere else.

“Sure, we have the new athletic center and bookstore,” Wehr said. “But can we have new classrooms?”

We not only need new classrooms, we need them to be bigger and “smarter.” It would be nice to see the fee increases go toward remodeling these aging rooms, or building new ones.

The classrooms are often overcrowded and some students have to sit on floors at the beginning of each semester due to small classroom sizes.

We need more class sections. We need more of everything that would make this institution conducive to a better educational experience.

It is probably not a bigger gym or a hangout location that would make our educational experience the best it can be. Commuter school or not, most of us enjoy the campus the way it is,without its fancy add-ons.

“We’re here for the minds, not just to get our students buff,” Wehr said.

Most of us are here to get ahead in life. We are here to get a good education. Yes, the campus may look nice, but the appearance is canceled out by us having to spend so much money on fees.

Wehr said it is important for students to go to the Capitol and rally against the fee increases. The only way the administration is going to know that we are hurt is if we show that we are. Fee increases are ridiculous.

Make your voice heard.

Daniel Vasilchuk can be reached at [email protected]