If the fee is implemented, the College of Liberal Arts would gain approximately $1 million, which would go towards study abroad programs and additional guest lecturers.
The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is proposing a $112 quarterly increase for full-time students and a $56 increase for part-time students, which would bring college-based fees (CBFs) up to the same level as every other academic college at Cal Poly.
Full-time students in every other college pay $291 in CBFs every quarter, while CLA students currently pay $179.
“We want to provide the best possible education for our students, certainly at least the equal of which students are given in other colleges,” CLA Dean Doug Epperson said. “Without parity in the college-based fees, we’re really handicapped in our ability to do that.”
If the fee is implemented, CLA would gain about $1 million, much of which would go towards what Epperson called “educational enhancement,” such as study abroad programs and additional guest lecturers.
Every other college increased fees by $200 per quarter in Winter 2002, while CLA raised fees by $125. People assumed CLA courses didn’t need expensive lab equipment or field trips as much as hard sciences, Epperson said.
“If you’re in journalism, GRC (graphic communication), music, art and design, theatre, archeology, these are all very equipment-intensive disciplines,” he said.
The influx of funding would allow CLA majors more “Earn by Doing” opportunities like paid student internships and assistantships, Epperson said.
When other colleges voted to approve fee increases in 2002, people thought CLA classes were less competitive to get into and therefore didn’t need as much funding, he said. Regardless of whether or not the theory was correct at the time, CLA classes are now sometimes bogged down with extensive wait lists.
“It’s based on the assumption that our students face less problems with bottlenecked courses,” he said. “If you talk to students in certain disciplines, they’ll tell you that’s definitely not true.”
Provost Kathleen Enz Finken said not funding CLA at the same level as other colleges causes the college to lag behind.
Technologically-dependent majors, such as graphic communication, could better prepare students for the professional world with more cutting-edge equipment, Enz Finken said. But even majors with traditional roots, such as English and music, need money for new books and instruments.
“They have greater need than they currently can fund,” she said. “I can see that there certainly are lots of needs that would be appropriate for use of these funds.”
In an email to all CLA students Monday, Epperson included a link to a webpage which he said would provide pro and con statements on the proposal. As of Wednesday afternoon, no con statement had been submitted.
In 2003, CLA spent a quarter of its budget on educational enhancement. But a loss of state funding associated with the recession forced the department to spend nearly 95 percent of the budget on essential services, such as teachers’ salaries.
Epperson proposed to allot 25 percent of the proposed $1 million increase for increasing course access, with the remaining 75 percent going toward educational enhancement.
“This is the one revenue stream that is dedicated 100 percent to CLA majors,” Epperson said. “(With the) Student Success Fee, we have to use the vast majority of that to meet our General Education obligations.”
All CLA students will vote whether or not to implement the fee over two days in the last week of February, Associated Students, Inc. President Jason Colombini said. If the proposal is approved, CLA officials will assemble a team of students to decide exactly how to use the money.
Enz Finken said she was in favor of passing the proposal, but students will have the final say.
“In my opinion, it is a positive thing,” Enz Finken said. “But the students have to decide for themselves what the best route is, weighing all the different factors and weighing their own experiences within the college.”
Students can attend hour-long open forum meetings on Feb. 4 at 11 a.m. in the Clyde P. Fisher Science Hall (building 33), room 286, Feb. 13 at 3:10 p.m. in the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (building 6), room 124, Feb. 18 and 19 at 6:10 p.m. in Graphic Arts (building 26), room 215 and Feb. 20 at 6:10 p.m. in the Julian A. McPhee University Union (building 65), room 220.