Several dozen students demonstrated their anger at new “success fees” inside and outside the Wednesday meeting of the California State University trustees in Long Beach.
“This message is for Chancellor White - please stop these fees, they just ain’t right!” Cal State San Bernardino senior Tiya Johnson chanted through a bullhorn, as students marched in a circle around her in a courtyard outside the meeting.
“Student success fees have definitely helped put me in debt,” Johnson said.
CSU San Bernardino’s $162 success fee, approved in 2011, funds technology improvements and career services among other things.
Protestors marched with handwritten signs that said “Whose success? Reclaim Education.” “Education is for students, not for profit.”
The chants and slogans were similar to those of much larger student demonstrations here several years ago, when CSU trustees approved significant tuition increases during the recession.
A focal point for protestors is that Governor Jerry Brown and administrators of the Cal State and the University of California campuses agreed to a tuition freeze through the 2016-17 fiscal year in exchange for state funding increases to the universities, but the so-called success fees are separate from the tuition freeze.
“It is obvious that labeling these fee increases student success initiative is a diversionary tactic to get around the tuition freeze,” Cal State Fullerton graduate student Carie Rael said during the public comment portion of the trustee meeting. Last week her campus approved a success fee, $181 per year, to be paid by all students.
The fees were not on the trustee agenda and there was no debate or action on the fees. From the speaker's podium, several Cal State faculty defended the fees.
“The recently approved fee is vital to maintain the quality of academic programs at SDSU,” San Diego State biology professor Douglas Deutschman said.
During a break in the meeting, CSU chancellor Tim White said he valued hearing fee opponents but did not say he’d recommend any changes to the way the fees are proposed and carried out.
“At the end of the day, campuses need resources to provide the faculty and the academic support and the enrichments students are seeking to get a high quality, meaningful experience,” White said.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Genesis Arredondo's name in a caption. That error has been fixed.