Student group speaks against Sac State arena

Jacob Abbott

Members of Students for Quality Education voiced their concerns to the Faculty Senate regarding the proposal for a new arena and student center expected to raise student fees by $219 starting fall 2015.

The four student members of SQE spoke during the open forum at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting in the Foothill Suite of the University Union.

Santos Pacheco, a senior sociology student, spoke to the Senate floor first about SQE’s apprehensions.

“I’ve become very concerned about how this is going about, when we found out that a communications class is pushing this agenda,” Pacheco said. “They have it as a senior project and it’s a YES campaign, and it’s 50 percent of their grade.”

The class Pacheco referred to is Communication Studies/Journalism 158 (Public Relations Planning and Management).

“There have already been discrepancies with misleading information,” Pacheco said. “The campaigns’ success is heavily graded and dictated towards the students, and the weight is put on the students.”

The class requires students to create a strategic public relations plan for a pre-selected campaign. They also focus on producing targeted messages for media kits, developing and evaluating formative and summative evaluation plans and make formal in-class presentations to peers, clients and PR professionals, according to the university’s course catalog.

Tyler Smith, a public relations student and Sac State’s chapter president of Public Relations Student Society of America, said that half of a student’s grade is based on the effort put towards the pre-selected campaign.

“We want it to pass, and if it does, great,” Smith said. “And if this doesn’t pass, we still all do well because it’s experiential learning. It’s about the process, not about the outcome.”

Wearing a black SQE t-shirt with #reclaimCSU written across the back, Kevin Easley, a graduate sociology student, spoke to the Senate about his concerns regarding what he thinks should be the university’s top priority.

“You guys need more faculty so you guys can have more sessions for students to have more classes,” Easley said, “so they can actually get some one-on-one attention.”

Sac State’s student-faculty ratio is 28:1, according to a recent U.S. News report. This ratio makes it the second-highest university in the CSU system behind San Jose State University (29:1).

“We are here today to ask for the support of our Senate to stand with us,” said Denise Fernandez, a junior ethnic studies student. “And to not support another inequitable fee on the students.”

While the Faculty Senate cannot vote on the new arena because it is an advisory student referendum, the Senate opposes the imposition of Student Success Fees (Category II) onto the students.

“The failure of the State of California to adequately support higher education has resulted in fiscal pressures leading campuses to establish and increase Student Success Fees, but such Fees amount to a tax on students to receive the education they deserve,” read a statement written by the Senate to the Office of the Chancellor on Oct. 2.

The student referendum vote will be on Dec. 2 and 3 sponsored by the Student Fee Advisory Committee. The vote will be online and requires a majority vote (50 percent plus one) of the students whom participate on the referendum.

SQE (@sacstatesqe) was formed in 2007-2008 by students in the CSU system as a student movement. They have organized rallies in the quad and occupied administrative buildings at Sac State.

“This will put more costs on the backs of students, especially those who can’t afford $219 per semester,” Fernandez said. “That’s a very big burden.”