Apr 212011
Authors: Allison Sylte

Despite a campus-wide email from student government publicizing the event, only eight students attended an open forum on Thursday afternoon in the Senate Chambers with CSU President Tony Frank and Board of Governors Chair Patrick McConathy.

Most of the students who attended were members of the Associated Students of CSU, including Public Relations Coordinator Matt Strauch, President-elect Eric Berlinberg, Vice President-elect Rachel Roberson and current President Cooper Anderson.

“I believe an email was sent out to all students,” Berlinberg said. “It was disappointing to see the lack
of involvement.”

The students who did attend were able to pose questions to Frank and McConathy.

Graduate Student Council Chair Katherine Zaunbrecher, who was one of two graduate students who attended the forum, posed multiple questions concerning cuts to Graduate Teaching Assitant positions on campus.

According to Frank, the “graduate schools have historically underperformed,” something that his administration is hoping to change. He added that despite significant cuts to G.T.A. positions last year, he is optimistic these positions won’t be reduced further.

“We were able to save a lot of G.T.A. positions based on tuition increases,” Frank said. “But the bad news is, as the federal government cuts the budget more and more, we’re inevitably going to see more cuts to research and development.”

Frank also addressed concerns posed by Strauch regarding House Bill 1301, which could potentially change the relationship between student governments and university administrations by changing how student voice impacts the implementation of new student fees.

The key point, Frank argued, is that CSU “already has a sufficient checks and balances system and objectivity” in how fee increases are presented to the BOG, and despite room for improvement, CSU’s current system wouldn’t be too altered by the bill.

Tuition and student fee packages are presented to the BOG in May and are finalized in June. McConathy, who just found out about ASCSU’s proposed fee increases Thursday, said they’ll consider “all of the recommendations presented to the board by the university.”

“No matter how tuition and fee increases pan out, our goal is to remain mindful of our clientele,” McConathy said. “We’re still one of the best deals in higher education.”

Despite the low turnout to the open forum, which served to further Frank’s goal of transparency within his administration, students who did attend said that it was beneficial because it gave them a direct channel to communicate with the university.

“I think that President frank is trying to be as personable as possible, and he really does seem to be concerned about students,” Zaunbrecher said.

News Editor Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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