In response to San Diego State University's request for a cap on enrollment, the new chancellor of the Cal State system will push for accelerating the growth of neighboring Cal State San Marcos, giving the fledgling university preferential treatment in next year's budget.
Barry Munitz, who took over as head of the 20-campus system last month, said he would like to accelerate the growth of the infant campus and "we are going to try to give them special protection going into the 1992-93 budget."
The 2-year-old Cal State San Marcos escaped many of the severe cuts that were inflicted on its sister campuses in the 1991-92 budget. At SDSU, for example, the budget slashing led to the elimination of 662 course sections and the laying off of as many as 400 temporary faculty and staff members.
Had it not been for the preferential treatment it received this year, Cal State San Marcos also would have had to cut back on its course offerings and the number of students enrolled. The university this year serves the equivalent of 725 full-time students, almost three times the number during its inaugural year.
Munitz was responding to a request from San Diego State University President Thomas Day to consider allowing the San Diego campus, which serves more than 32,000 students, to impose an enrollment cap as University of California campuses do.
Such a cap would allow the university to raise entrance requirements and reject otherwise qualified applicants.
Only Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has ever been allowed a cap on its entire campus, but many campuses, including SDSU, now are allowed to limit enrollment in several departments.
Without Cal State San Marcos, a cap on enrollment at SDSU would be infeasible because those shut out of the San Diego campus would have no other options in the area, Munitz said.
"We need a place to relieve pressure if we begin to cap San Diego," Munitz said.
For an enrollment cap at SDSU and a growth acceleration at Cal State San Marcos to go forward, however, construction of the young university's campus must also be accelerated, Munitz said.
The university, which now operates out of a San Marcos industrial park, is building a campus that may be open for use by November, 1992, when three academic buildings are completed.
But a state bond election in 1990 that included money for designing the second phase of the campus, as well as furniture and equipment for the initial three buildings, failed.
Those same items are wrapped into a proposed 1992 bond election, the failure of which could set back the second phase of the campus and delay any plans for a Cal State San Marcos acceleration or an SDSU enrollment cap, Munitz said.
"You can't seriously look at any acceleration at San Marcos until you know you can provide the people and facilities to support it," Munitz said.
"Buildings will be difficult to do. There is not a lot of optimism. There isn't a lot of flexibility there on the physical side," Munitz said.
Next year, after it moves to its new campus, Cal State San Marcos plans to more than double enrollment, to 1,700 full-time students.
While the San Marcos campus continues to expand, neighboring SDSU experienced a decrease in enrollment this year, going from 35,000 in the fall of 1991 to less than 33,000 this year, said Rick Moore, spokesman for SDSU.
Final figures to be released on Tuesday could be significantly lower than 33,000, said Moore, who attributed the decline to fewer classes, students frustrated by not being able to get the classes they need and others scared off by stories in the media of the class crunch.
The decline in enrollment does not mean, however, that there is no need for Cal State San Marcos to expand, Moore said.
"They'll be back (at SDSU). They won't sit out forever. Eventually, they will come back, and that's why in the long term San Marcos is important," Moore said.
Although Munitz offered Cal State San Marcos protection in the upcoming budget, he said that he may not be able to do so in future years.