Students to protest student success fees

Cal State students to protest campus fees hikes before trustees

Dozens of California State University students who say they're already being squeezed too tightly by college costs are planning a rally to oppose campus-based fees at a meeting of trustees Thursday in Long Beach.

The so-called student success fees have been enacted at a dozen campuses to hire faculty and counselors, increase course offerings and support athletics and other programs that took hits during years of state funding cuts.

Many students complain that they have had too little say before the fees are approved; they range up to nearly $800 per student on some campuses. Students also say they aren't given enough information about how the fees are used.

A moratorium enacted by the California Legislature prohibits adoption of new fees before 2016. In addition, a group formed by Chancellor Timothy White to study the fees will recommend a number of restrictions, including requiring a binding student vote.

Students say they remain concerned that campus presidents will still have too much power to impose fees unilaterally.

Students for Quality Education conducted a survey across the 23-campus system and found that 68% of respondents said additional fees would lead them to take out more loans and 59% said they would need to work more hours.

The rally will include a makeshift circus with student performance art to highlight the "travesty" of CSU priorities, said Sage Hubacek, a sociology major at the Dominguez Hills campus.

"There's a lack of transparency and mismanagement of funds and CSU leaders are making a mockery of that," Hubacek said.

Meanwhile, trustees got a more upbeat report at Wednesday's session about efforts to create the world's largest online yearbook in recognition of Cal State reaching its 3 millionth living alumni this academic year.

According to census data, 1 in 20 Americans with a college degree is a Cal State graduate, said Aaron J. Moore, director of alumni relations.

Two of those are Chancellor White, who attended both Fresno State and Cal State East Bay (formerly Cal State Hayward) and board of trustees Chairman Lou Monville, who graduated from the San Bernardino campus.

One goal is to increase alumni support of campuses through participation and fundraising.

"These are all alumni we can contact," Moore said. "It's designed to highlight the impact CSU graduates are having in everyday life ... and their importance in the fabric of society and the economy."

The online yearbook currently includes about 2,000 profiles, including Fullerton alumni and NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and television's "Desperate Housewives" creator and executive producer, Marc Cherry.

Graduates who create a profile will be entered to win a $10,000 scholarship.

Trustees are expected Thursday to discuss Cal State’s budget and a proposal to increase executive pay.

Twitter: @CarlaRiveraLat

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