EDITORIAL: Sac State’s over-enrollment problem should have been avoided


Max Connor

Sac State students crowd the walkway near Placer Hall during the fall 2019 semester. The California State University system has suspended all international and non-essential domestic travel for all campuses and auxiliary organizations until May 31.

At Sacramento State this semester, 700 extra students originally meant to be waitlisted were accidentally accepted and then enrolled at Sacramento State this semester.

In addition, 3,000 other students were accidentally accepted but later declined to enroll, meaning that the over-enrollment problem Sac State now faces could have been even worse.

The accidental acceptances and enrollments occurred when Sac State sent out 3,500 extra invites to Admitted Students Day by mistake, and later decided to not rescind any of those admissions.

To start, we do not believe that Sac State should rescind any of those admissions, and we applaud their decision not to. However, we also believe that Sac State should have been much more transparent about the accident and that it realistically shouldn’t be a problem occurring at a campus like this in the first place.

RELATED: Sac State accidentally accepts 3,500 waitlisted students

Sac State, also called California’s capital university, is a multi-million dollar institution with a population of over 30,000 (purposefully admitted) students. Why did such a basic, likely technological, issue occur with admissions this year? How did no one catch it before it happened?

Again, we applaud Sac State for at least owning up to the consequences. In all honesty, Sac State accidentally enrolling 700 students and causing an over-enrollment issue is way less infuriating than the alternative scenario, one where Sac State could have chosen to cancel over 3,000 admissions, likely throwing hundreds of students into Academy65-like-distress as fall semester transportation, career and living plans are suddenly eighty-sixed.

RELATED: ‘Situational homelessness’: 286 residents still awaiting move-in at apartments near Sac State

However, we still think Sac State should have been upfront and honest about the mistake. A simple SacSend or President’s Update before the semester started detailing the situation could have helped students adjust schedules and commutes to adapt to the overflow and prevented the day one “why is it so crowded this semester?” effect.

In the end, it’s fair to say that Sac State took the best option in response to a very bad situation. But it’s also fair to point out that the whole thing is a situation that should have never occurred in the first place.

What happens if an impacted class accidentally lets in 20 more students than it has seats for? What happens if University Transportation and Parking Services accidentally issues a dozen more parking permits than they have spaces for?

Accidentally letting in 700 extra students is a pretty massive mistake that could lead to other issues with things like class size and parking spaces.

Nothing runs perfectly, sure, but Sac State administration needs to be careful and vigilant to prevent an accident of this scale from happening again.

Updated Sept. 17 to reflect new numbers.