Mar 112009
 
Authors: Shelley Woll

In light of CSU’s projected $13.1 million shortfall, student government officials at Wednesday’s University Budget Hearings pleaded with campus administration to avoid cuts to faculty, curriculum, in-class resources and stable advising.

Per the results of the over-200 students they surveyed last month, student government President Taylor Smoot, Vice President Quinn Girrens, student at large Blake Gibson, Sen. Dan Palmer and Sen. Matt Worthington informed university decision-makers that students felt cuts should be dispersed among marketing, green initiatives, athletics and research Super Clusters.

The five presented the Associated Students of CSU’s Tuition Taskforce Assessment, an overview of student priorities, which CSU Interim President Tony Frank requested for the first time.

The group said it hopes their recommendations will persuade administrators to take students into consideration when drafting next year’s budget.

“These recommendations are not only very thoughtful, but they’re very important for the students,” Gibson said. “Heeding the student’s recommendations about what to cut and what to keep is a response to the customers of this university.”

Additionally, Girrens provided an update on the Student Fee Review Board’s currently outstanding fee proposals. She said the only areas requesting fee increases were athletics, the Career Center and Off-Campus Student Services.

The Tuition Taskforce survey was conducted via e-mail sent to over a thousand students.

Out of those who received the e-mail, 213 undergraduate students and one graduate student replied.

When asked how important varsity athletics were in their overall “CSU experience,” 43 percent of students responded by saying “unimportant” — ranking it least popular out of all aspects that contribute to student life at CSU, including student clubs and organization, the Campus Recreation Center, the homecoming concert and student services.

The presentation of the results comes after the SFRB unanimously voted Monday to increase student fees for athletics funding by $15 per student per semester.

“I think that what the presentation is saying is that athletic funding is something not a lot students think needs to be maintained at a high level during a budget cut back,” Palmer said.

“If you wanted to cut down athletics a bit, that’s something that students would probably be supportive of in tough economic times as compared to cutting down faculty or other important areas.”

The most important level of spending to students was overwhelmingly the quality of academics and the academic environment, followed closely by career opportunities.

“What really makes a great institution is the teachers,” Smoot said in his concluding remarks.

Interim Provost Rick Miranda said he believes administrative budget goals are in line with the student goals presented.

“I would really hope that Dr. Frank and the other administrators do what they can to take these recommendations into account.” Gibson said. “ASCSU is not the only constituency, but we are an important constituency.”

A final decision on the budget won’t be approved until the CSU System Board of Governors reviews it in June.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Shelley Woll can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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