President receives recommendation to expand University Union and increase tuition


Students (left to right) Trevor Garcia-Neeley, Rodolfo Rodriguez, Victoria Ordorica-Yenez and Denise Fernandez wait outside Friday’s Student Fee Advisory Committee closed meeting in Lassen Hall.

Cesar Alexander

The Sacramento State Union WELL Inc. Committee  and the Student Fee Advisory Committee approved the recommendation last week for the University Union expansion project and the ensuing tuition fee increase.

The decision, which was based on student surveys and feedback, was presented to President Alexander Gonzalez on Monday afternoon.

The decision was a departure from what was to be expected after a student survey showed a lack of support for the recommendation.

Results from the questionnaire showed that of the 516 students who took the time to fill out the survey, 55.8 percent said they do not support the fee increase.

University Union Director Leslie Davis is on the Union WELL Inc. Committee that approved the recommendation.

“The process is suggestive,” Davis said. “The Board of Directors took into consideration all the information that was given to (it) and there was a greater majority of students that wanted the facilities and programs and service. There was a very small majority who didn’t want to pay for the service and then there was a glaring component of 753 students that didn’t even fill out a questionnaire.”

As the process for approval moved forward, the Student Fee Advisory Committee approved its recommendation for the tuition fee increase during a closed meeting Friday, which focused on the financial feasibility of the project.

Students are concerned that the approvals do not represent the results adequately and not enough students were able to voice their opinion.

There was also confusion as to why Friday’s Student Fee Advisory Committee meeting was closed to the general public.

“It’s never been public,”  said Student Fee Advisory Committee Chair Gina Curry. “Public comment on issues that come forward may come from different areas, but they are not necessarily going to be in that meeting. That meeting is to do the work of the committee which is to look at the proposals and make a recommendation.”

Sociology major Victoria Ordorica-Yanez was told by a secretary that it was the first meeting the committee had held.

“When Gina Curry came out, she told us it was actually the third meeting and that they had already made a decision to go ahead and make the recommendation to the president,” Ordorica-Yanez said.

Sociology and ethnic studies student Rodolfo Rodriguez, 22, was one of the students waiting outside the meeting on Friday.

“As a student, I feel very disappointed in the fact that I was not able to voice my opinion on this particular project that’s supposed to affect all the student body,” Rodriguez said.

Curry said students must function inside the committee in order to participate.

Sociology major Santos Pacheco, 29, attended forum meetings, filled out the questionnaire, attended the Oct. 16 Union WELL Inc. Committee meeting and attempted to be present at the Student Fee Advisory Committee meeting.

“Their own survey showed that over 55 percent of students are not okay with spending $250 more per semester,” Pacheco said. “So when you have over 55 percent of students saying they are not for the $250 increase per semester over the next 30 years, and you’re still pushing it, and you’re still recommending it, then the student interests are not at heart.”

The 17 question survey asked students the level of importance in having larger concerts, career fairs, intercollegiate athletic events, additional seating in the Union and commencement on campus amongst other concerns.

To most of these questions, students leaned towards answering “very important”  or “somewhat important” rather than “not important.”

Union WELL Inc. Chair Caleb Fountain said the present board members unanimously voted in favor of the project.

Although one student member of the board was absent, there were five student members and five campus representatives present for the board.

There was nobody that voted against and nobody that abstained.

Although these two committees have presented their approvals, Gonzalez and the Board of Trustees will still decide the final outcome.