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Editorial: Students must be vigilant about budget
In the midst of our state’s financial situation, Gov. Gray Davis signed the California budget three weeks ago. Included in the budget, were cuts to several programs throughout the state, including a $345.2 million reduction in the California State University budget, which was passed on to the 23 CSU campuses.
If one follows the money trail, they will find that the buck has been passed down the line and the burden of paying the debt has come to rest on the shoulders of the students. It is the students’ pocketbooks that are hit, the students’ classes that are cut, and it should be the students who make sure their burden is not made heavier by irresponsibility from the upper echelons of administration.
Students across the state are faced with larger and fewer classes, affecting both the quality of individual education in the classroom and the ability for students to get the classes they need to graduate; a reduction of staff and faculty positions, which decreases the diversity and efficiency of students’ education; a more than 30 percent increase in student fees, limiting the availability of an education; and a mandated reduction and eventual freeze of CSU enrollment.
Fresno State faces the responsibility of making up for a $21.1 million cut, $9 million of which is to come from fee increases, and about $7.5 million is expected to come from the allowed 4.3 percent growth in Fresno State enrollment. The remaining $4.4 million is anticipated to come from academic programs themselves. This is where the budget cuts inevitably affect the students’ quality and integrity of education.
The administration tells students they must help absorb the impact of the budget cuts. Certainly students already have in the form of fee increases and class reductions.
In all fairness, it should be noted that the administration of Fresno State took the initiative by cutting at least 11 administrative positions amounting to about $1 million, an admirable move that shows the administration’s willingness to be flexible.
On the other hand, a plan by the administration to use $1.2 million from parking funds in order to build a walkway at the Save Mart Center was challenged by the Associated Students this summer, and has since been reconsidered.
The point is that though the average student has been made aware of the budget cuts, fee increases and class reductions, there is little effort to disclose to the student just where existing funds are going. Though the Associated Students are apparently making an effort to keep the administration in check, it is ultimately up to students to voice their concerns over issues that affect their education.
Just as it would be irresponsible for the administration to misuse existing funds, or for AS to look the other way as they do so, it is irresponsible for students to allow the administration to work above the voice of the students, and it is irresponsible to allow or expect AS to advocate student’s rights without being kept “on the ball” throughout the semester concerning what truly affects the individual, average student.