Academics, career center, student health service receive support; athletics narrowly defeated
SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2004 — An outpouring of San Francisco State University students supported campus fee increases on three of four proposals in voting on March 2 & 3.
A record number of 8,587 students cast ballots as part of the student advisory referendum on the Local Mandatory Student Fee Proposal. The number of students who voted represents 30 percent of the student body and is four times the number of votes typically cast for student elections.
The results show that students voted in favor of increases for Academic Affairs, the Career Center and the Student Health Service. The Athletics Fee did not receive a simple majority as it was narrowly defeated by just 233 votes.
The breakdown of votes is as follows:
"I am proud that so significant a number of students voiced their opinions by voting in the fee referendum and I applaud their willingness to make some very difficult choices. Nearly three-quarters of those who voted chose higher fees to protect their higher education. It is one of the most remarkable, responsible and courageous student acts I’ve witnessed as an educator," President Robert A. Corrigan said. "There may be a message here for the state's decision-makers."
Penny Saffold, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, also thanked students for carefully studying the issues and taking the time to vote.
"I commend our students for their thoughtfulness and wisdom in deciding such serious issues as fee increases," she said. "Because of California’s dismal budget woes and loss of General Revenue to the University’s budget, students are telling us that they are willing to raise fees in order to protect the valued educational program and services offered at San Francisco State University."
The referendum is a non-binding, advisory vote used to gauge student opinions about the fee proposals. The results will be taken under advisement by President Corrigan and California State University Chancellor Charles Reed, who will ultimately make the final decisions on any fee increases.
Students voted in favor of the Academic Instructional Fee proposal to establish a new fee of $75 a semester in order to preserve 575 course sections that could otherwise be canceled because of budget reductions and also to fund instructional equipment, library materials and classroom maintenance.
The Career Center proposal asked students to establish a new fee of $14 a semester. The money is needed because the Career Center is losing its General Fund (state) support. The proposed fee would maintain the current level of programs and career services for students and recent alumni. Last year more than 16,000 students took advantage of a variety of services to help them reach their career goals.
The Athletics proposal requested a fee increase to $57 a semester to sustain programs and services for SFSU sports and intramurals. The increase of $33 would replace funding that is currently being provided from the University's General Fund revenue that will be eliminated next year as part of SFSU's ongoing efforts to balance its budget. Without the General Fund revenue support, Athletics could be forced to eliminate one-half of the teams, staff and student-athletes. There are 16 sports teams for men and women student athletes at San Francisco State.
The Student Health Services proposal requested that fees be raised to $16 a semester for the Counseling and Psychological Services Center which assists students who have problems, emotional or social difficulties, relationship conflicts, anxiety or depression and concerns about academic progress. The professionally licensed counselors and faculty also serve the general campus in times of crisis, disaster and death on campus.
Results of the fee referendum were certified by the Student Fee Advisory Committee during a meeting on March 10. The committee made a recommendation to President Robert A. Corrigan that the Athletics Fee be considered for approval based on three factors:
For more information, see the Student Fee Referendum Web page.
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