Fee Hike is for Executive Benefits, Not Students

By Fiza Najeeb

The California State University system has always emphasized the
importance of providing their students with a high-quality
education; however, with Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed 10
percent increase in student fees for the 2007-2008 academic year,
the only type of education students at the CSU system will recieve
will be a costly one.

The CSU Board of Trustees and the California Faculty Association
have finally come to a tentative agreement regarding a faculty pay
increase, but in order to ensure fiscal stability, it seems that
the faculty’s well deserved raise as educators of the future
generation of America has to be at the expense of the students
themselves.

The CSU Executive Board of Trustees have claimed to have an
insufficient amount of funding to grant faculty raise without
increasing student fees; however, in an investigation of the CSU
off budget cash flow, President of the Center for Economic
Organizing Randy Barber found that the discretionary cash flow
undocumented amounted to around $1.2 billion.

It seems as though along with creating a financial cushion for
themselves, CSU executives have been indulging in excessive amounts
of compensation. An investigative news article published in the San
Francisco Chronicle identifies all the clandestine policies which
have allowed executives to receive thousands of dollars for the
most frivolous reasons.

Retired executives have been allowed to remain on payroll and
receive a full-time salary while employed outside of the CSU
system. For example, one of the policies allowed retired President
Barry Munitz to benefit from a multi-million dollar salary while
taking an eight-year leave of absence.

While CSU executives were granted a 19 percent fee increase in
2005 and an additional 4 percent fee increase in 2006, students
have seen a 76 percent fee increase since 2002.

The absurdity of the situation lies in the fact that while
extravagant payments are being handed out to top executives, along
with the continuing increases in student fees, certain programs
have been facing steep budget cuts.

For example, Outreach and Retention Programs which provide the
opportunity of a higher education to students who face language
barriers or financial roadblocks will face a $7 million budget
cut.

According to the L.A. Daily news, with only 23 percent of
college bound high school graduates, California has the second
lowest rate of high school seniors that enroll in a four-year
college.

The excessive money that the CSU frivolously spends on top
executives would make a big difference if instead it were actually
spent towards improving the quality of education that students at
California universities receive.

For example, according to the Students for Quality Education
coalition, the $5,537,911 that was spent on CSU executives could
have been spent to open up 1,231 classes and help around 48,000
students graduate on time.

Mental health programs would also benefit students here at Cal
Poly, if provided with additional funding. As a college student who
has to deal with juggling academics, extra curricular activities,
and worrying about financial responsibilities, the accessibility of
counselors is extremely important.

Unfortunately, through the trials and tribulations of
transitioning into adulthood, Cal Poly Students are only allowed
around 10 counseling sessions in the span of four quarters.

CSU executives claim to provide affordable educational
opportunity to students, yet have unnecessarily increased student
tuition.

They claim to value high-quality education, and yet while they
grant full tenured professorship to executives who have never even
taught college courses in their life, more than 50 percent of the
faculty on campus are only granted year to year contracts, and
often have to teach at other college campuses in order to make ends
meet.

Fiza Najeeb can be reached by e-mail at opinions@thepolypost.com
or by phone at (909) 869-3531.

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