Dean Asks for Student Input on Fee Increases
February 23, 2004 4:44 PM
The dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences urged students today to cast their votes on whether campus-based fees should be raised so the SF State president and California State University chancellor won't make the decision arbitrarily.
A group of students met with Dean Joel Kassiola to discuss how the Academic Instructional Fee referendum on the March 2 and 3 ballot will affect the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the university at large.
The forum was held to familiarize students and encourage them to vote on the referendum that will suggest a $75 per semester increase in student fees, according to Kassiola. Another purpose of the meeting was to bridge the gap between students and the administration, he said; and he plans on relaying students’ ideas and messages back to the deans, department chairs and the administration.
“No matter how you feel about it, tell your friends and colleagues to vote on March 2 and 3,” Kassiola said, “and do it on an informed basis.”
He passed out voter information pamphlets that explained each referendum on the ballot, including the purpose, the fee requested, the services provided and a pro and con argument to each. The university should have thousands of these available to student voters by tomorrow, Kassiola said.
It is important to get the word out about this election and have the biggest turn out possible, he told students. In order for the referendums to pass through the state legislature, the students vote for them, then SF State President Robert Corrigan sends the idea forward to Chancellor Charles Reed for the final OK. Corrigan and Reed have the authority to refuse the outcome of the votes.
Corrigan has said that he will not deviate from the vote, however Reed has said publicly that he is not in favor of raising student fees, according to Kassiola.
“If we have 30,000 students and only 600 vote, it’s not going to be legitimate. And he is most likely going to reject whatever is recommended,” Kassiola said.
Some students who were unsure about the technicalities of the referendums and propositions on the March 2 and 3 ballot, still said they would support raising instructional fees.
“I’m from the East Coast and I went to University Massachusetts, Amhurst where tuition was $5,000 a semester,” said Lydia Kantor, a health education major.
“I don’t think we pay that much,” Kantor said, “and the programs that will be cut are ones we can’t do without.”
Volz said it would benefit students to pay an additional $75. “Our department could lose almost half of the sections. If we do lose half of the sections, then I don’t know how the school will stay afloat. If freshmen can’t get their classes they won’t become sophomores; and if grad students can’t get classes they will go somewhere else.”
The budget cuts will require deans to cut lecturers who are hired by semester, according to Kassiola. The departments relying more on full-time staff and tenured professors will not be as affected. Kassiola said that within Behavioral and Social Sciences the criminal justice, psychology, social science, environmental studies, and child and adolescent development are the majors that will be most affected by the cut of lecturers.
The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences is facing more than a million dollars in cuts if the referendum does not pass. If it does, the cut will be reduced to $723,000, according to Kassiola, who assured that the additional instructional fees students pay will save 80 class sections within Behavioral and Social Sciences.
He also explained that although many of the course sections might not be cut, there may be less availability for space. If he is forced to not hire any graduate students to assist lecturers, then obviously one person cannot handle a class of 125 people, and they might have to cut larger classes in half, he said.
“This is to buffer the consequences (of the cuts), no matter what happens on the state level,” Kassiola said of the academic fee increase. “Everyone in Academic Affairs struggled hard before we had to go to the students for this.”
» The SF State Office of Public Information site includes pro and con statements for each proposed fee increase and where students can vote
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