ASI barred from charging fee for summer session

The California State University chancellor’s office issued without warning new guidelines March 8 that deny the 23 CSU campuses the ability to charge a $33 Associated Students Inc. fee per student during summer session.

Without the fee, ASI is left to fill an estimated $200,000 deficit. According to the CSU memo discussed at Wednesday’s ASI meeting, “campuses may not charge the ASI fee to matriculated students registering solely in self-support programs during summer 2010.” University Student Union student fee and instructionally related activities fee would still apply.

ASI drafted an emergency resolution sponsored by Vice President Omar Gonzalez that states that ASI rejects the rationale for the guidelines and strongly urges the chancellor’s office to revise its reading of Section 89300 of the California Educational Code.

The resolution reads that the prohibition of the fees is not only a threat to financial stability, but also to the ability to perform basic operations, which would result in a loss of an organized student voice at Cal State Long Beach, and the other CSUs as well. Further, it urges student governments across the CSU to join ASI in drafting a resolution to oppose these guidelines.

ASI President Chris Chavez said ASI cannot function without the student fees.

“This is something that can make or break the campus cultures that we have right now,” Chavez said. “If this actually does pass, you are going to see ASI potentially filing for bankruptcy. This can destroy student governance as we know it.”

ASI Executive Director Richard Haller said the release of the memorandum in March leaves ASI in a difficult place planning the 2010-11 school year budget.

Additionally, student governments at every CSU had no input during the development of the guidelines, which the resolution states “[violates] both the spirit and policy of shared governance.”

According to Haller, ASI hopes to put enough pressure on the chancellor’s office from the CSUs to force the CSU system to reinterpret the California Education Code.

But some students disagree with the resolution.

“I think ASI should really analyze why they are trying to do this because many students aren’t even able to take classes because fees are so high,” said Shannon Trott, a sophomore marine biology major.

Other students said that paying ASI fees in the summer doesn’t serve as any benefit to students.

“It would be a really big blow to us but some students may see this as a relief,” said Senator at Large Isai Valdez.

He said many students might feel they aren’t getting anything out of summer school other than classes, and that fees are already through the roof.

Gonzalez said that when ASI works throughout the summer and lobbies to make a difference, the change that comes out of it isn’t for those in student government who just voted, but for the 400,000 students in the CSU system.

“Even though we are fighting the good war and not everyone knows about it, at the end of the day, it will affect [CSULB students],” Gonzalez said. “Whether we make it a positive change or a negative change, that’s up to us, but nothing is going to happen if the representatives of students don’t exist.” 

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