New Year May Echo the Thunder of the Old : HIGHER EDUCATION
Continued earthquake recovery, possible fee hikes, changes in financial aid and leadership questions are likely to top the agenda in higher education for the San Fernando and surrounding valleys in the new year.
Approaching the one-year anniversary of the Northridge earthquake, Cal State Northridge has come a long way toward recovery--but still has a long way to go. More than half a dozen major campus buildings remain closed from quake damage, and the last of the portable classrooms trundled onto campus after the temblor may not be moved out until 1998.
Early this year, however, campus officials hope to demolish the partially collapsed parking structure on Zelzah Avenue--one of the most graphic symbols of the earthquake’s force.
Crucial for CSUN will be its relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is expected to foot the bill for most of the university’s $350-million repair effort. Universities caught in past disasters have seen their recovery progress bog down as the months passed.
The earthquake also led to a drop in enrollment at CSUN and the region’s six community colleges. Although administrators hope to stem the decline in 1995, it is sure to contribute to the money woes of campuses already squeezed by shortfalls in state tax funding and by the defeat last June of a $900-million bond measure to provide money for new facilities.
On pocketbook issues, the outlook is mixed. Cal State University trustees once again are seeking a 10% fee hike, to $1,740 for the fall, which would be the ninth consecutive annual increase. The current $13-per-unit community college fee, which remained unchanged in 1994, is also likely to rise in 1995.
At the three Valley campuses of the Los Angeles Community College District, leadership will be a hot topic. At Mission College in Sylmar, President Jack Fujimoto will depart for at least a year, with Vice President William Norlund from Pierce College in Woodland Hills taking over in the interim.
At Pierce, Acting President Mary Lee wants the college to decide this spring whether she should be made president or whether an outside search should begin.
And at Valley College in Van Nuys, where Tyree Wieder is acting president, there will be a nationwide job search this year.