Students voice Success Fee opinions

Associated Students held forums with students to discuss the proposed Academic Success fee last week.

Sarah Dinari, the undeclared senator of Associated Students, explained the forums were held to “get as much information out to the students and give as much information to the provost that we get from students about this fee.”

Various academic issues were raised at the forums as well as methods of paying the fee and the distribution of the money it yields.

Students particularly emphasized that the fee should contribute toward providing an increased amount of classes for impacted academic faculties and General Education (GE) classes.

“Sociology: impacted major; kinesiology: impacted major; communications: impacted major. If we get this fee, put it to the people who are hurting most,” said one student at Wednesday’s forum.

International student Laura Ibsen of Columbia noted that the limited provision of classes has been an issue since she was a freshman.  

“Since my freshman year the number of students has increased but the number of classes has become less. We have to think about where the big problem is and that is the admissions of students and the number of students on campus,” Isben said.

Accompanying increased classes, students stressed the importance of class diversity throughout all academic schools to enhance students overall educational experience. 

 “If I were given the option to take more classes, it would be very different, I could have a way better educational experience and so could many other students,” one student said. 

The issue of academic advising and whether it should be improved with profits from the fee divided student opinion.

“People here aren’t getting advised properly,” one student said. “You go to your advisor’s office and they tell you to go to someone else. We need to educate our faculty more and our advisors about how to help us because they are there for us and if they aren’t doing their jobs then why are they there?”

 Another student said in terms of advising that “we have the services, we don’t utilize them.” This suggests the importance of utilizing current advising resources to allow for funding other academic areas of the university.

“I think it would be smart instead of putting funds to more [advisors] to utilize the ones we already have, because that’s one more class we can add by diverting funds toward faculty or [new] professors,” the student said. 

South Korean international student Dae-Sung Kim noted that the needs of international students must be considered when allocating the profits of the fee to academic areas.

“[International students] are paying much more in tuition; they are paying almost twice as much [as a domestic student].  So having them pay $250 extra in order to get more classes wouldn’t be very necessary for them because they already get priority class registration,” Kim said.

Kim suggested that “closer relations with the professors and getting more help from them” would be of more benefit to Sonoma State’s international student community.

 Provost Andrew Rogerson met with the Associated Student Senate on Friday, Feb. 7 to gauge student feedback regarding the Academic Success fee. Rogerson acknowledged there is “no easy fix for this,” implying no alternative to a student fee. 

“We have made every reduction that we can over the past two years, and so has administration and finance, and we still have a structural deficit of approximately $1 million,” Rogerson said. 

Rogerson reassured the Senate that implementing the fee will bring the university out of deficit permanently.  

“The student fee will not be used to patch the hole of the student deficit. We will be able to eliminate the structural deficit,” Rogerson said.

The provost intends to be transparent with students regarding the fee’s effectiveness eliminating the deficit and improving academic issues.

“I do want to include measures to allow students to access data on this every year,” Rogerson said.

Rogerson said that a white paper, a document explaining the nature of the fee and where its profits will be allocated, will be created by Saturday, Feb. 15.