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CSUSM: We’re failing so give us more money!

Have you heard about Cal State University San Marcos‘ proposed “Student Success” fee?

Indeed, that is what the university administration is calling it, which begs the questions: Is the admin just nuts? Or do they think their constituents are just stupid?

They want us to pay a new, campus-unique fee so they can successfully do the job they are already being paid to do, graduate students into the world of work.

According to the university’s website, the fee would pay:

To preserve our student-centered mission, vision, and values

To support student learning and engagement

To help ensure students graduate in a timely manner

To provide students with the tools to be successful in their chosen careers

I admit my memory isn’t what it used to be, but as a recent graduate of this institution, and with a daughter still attending CSUSM, I do recall that this is exactly what Cal State is already supposed to be doing. And didn’t we pass California’s Prop. 30 just last November to help protect funding for these worthy goals? And if CSUSM’s performance is so poor that student success is not a given, is adding a special fee the best fix to ensure the university’s improved performance?

How about, instead, cutting the bloat in the Craven Hall admin tower? How about shifting some money from PR puffery to bringing students’ basic skills up to minimal standards for college success? I’ve seen the student writing that the university produces, and much of it is abysmal.

You want successful graduates? Don’t put students into classes until they have the skills to do the work—and this would include the international students whose higher fees the university greedily accepts without first ensuring the students’ English proficiency.

We’re already paying for child care, recreation, healthcare and various other fees for services many of our students do not consume—a share-the-pain approach, which I can appreciate. But it’s a bit much to ask us to pay yet another fee to assure that our students actually and successfully graduate—because their success is not otherwise assumed!

Perhaps the admin should consider a hierarchical fee structure instead:

Pay no Student Success fee, and your chances of graduating into employment are nil.

Pay $150, and we’ll make sure you can write a semblance of a resume before you graduate into a dead-end cubicle where you while away the hours making paperclip animals and dreaming of the better job you had as a student.

Pay $250 and you, too, can graduate from CSUSM and climb the corporate ladder to mediocrity, supervising the poor schlub in the cubicle.

Pay $350 with cheerful gratitude—and never question authority—and you just might end up in CSUSM’s C-suite, polishing President Haynes‘ perky pumps.

Yes, I guess the CSUSM administration is nuts. If they were of sound—and honest—mind, they’d call the fee what it obviously is:

It-would-be-political-suicide-to-ask-for-a-tuition-hike fee

We’re-graduating-illiterates-and-we-better-clean-up-our-act-before-the-taxpayers-realize-it fee

We-can-get-away-with-it-so-suck-it-up fee

With the poor reputation CSUSM suffers within the Cal State system, this proposed We’re-failing-so-give-us-more-money fee just validates the school’s snickering peers.

If you have an opinion about the Student Success fee, share it with CSUSM—by March 12!


Here’s an interesting column on the rising cost of college, from The New Republic.
Thanks to the CSUSM Cougar Chronicle for the heads up on the administration’s low-down idiocy.
Craven Hall image from the CSUSM website.

Kit-Bacon Gressitt's commentary and political fiction can be read on her blog Excuse Me, I'm Writing and have been published by San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, The Ocean Beach Rag, The Progressive Post and San Diego Free Press. She formerly worked for the North County Times. She is also host of Fallbrook's monthly Writers Read open mic and can be reached at kbgressitt@gmail.com.