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Santa Monica College will continue with two-tier class pricing plan

Santa Monica College.
Santa Monica College.
Photo by Michele Markel Connors via Flickr Creative Commons

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Santa Monica College will continue with plans to implement a new tier of higher cost classes this summer despite a request from the California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott to put the program on hold after protesting students were pepper sprayed Tuesday night by campus police, said college spokesman Bruce Smith today.

Santa Monica College President Chui L. Tsang spoke with Scott on the phone Wednesday, the morning after students were pepper sprayed while interrupting a Board of Trustees meeting.

"Dr. Tsang was very appreciative of the call," Smith said. "They had a great conversation and the college is going to take that request under full consideration. As of this point, here is no change, we're moving ahead with the program."

The college plans to initially offer about 50 courses priced at $180 to $200 a unit this summer. That would be at least five times the current $36 per unit, which is a fee set by the Legislature. Fees will rise to $46 per unit this summer. The higher-fee classes will support themselves, university officials said.

Scott has asked the state's Attorney General to give an opinion on the legality of the program. College officials believe it is legal.

"We've developed a very lengthy legal opinion, and we believe it is a legal program," Smith said. Smith said the college has been in communication with the Chancellor's legal department on the issue.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).