Fee Committee lacks transparency

Annie Russell and 

Esteban Ramirez

The Runner Staff


The increase of campus fees added to CSU Bakersfield students’ tuition is moving forward.

Recently, the Campus Fee Committee passed an increase of the MyWritingLab fee from $24 to $36 and technology fee from $9 to $15.

These fees are Category II Fees.

There are five different categories, all which are overseen by different authority. Category II fees have the most impact on students since they are mandatory fees associated that must be paid to enroll in or attend the university. These fees also require the most feedback as the committee will recommend the fee establishment or adjustment to the campus president who then would take the request to the CSU Chancellor for establishment.

“When you’re looking at fees, you’re looking at two kinds of fees: you’re looking at course fees, which is based on the number of students taking those courses, and then you are looking at campus fees, which involves all students that are attending school here,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Thomas Wallace.

According to ASI President Mike Kwon, the fees can apply to all students or just specific classes.

“Once the Campus Fee Advisory Committee makes a decision, it goes to the university president, [Horace] Mitchell, for final approval,” Kwon said.

Though some students do see a benefit to the increase of fees for certain areas, the problem is, most students are not aware or informed of the Campus Fee  Advisory Committee and their agendas.

After numerous attempts to recive the agenda for the prior meeting, Wallace stated that the agenda would be edited and ready for The Runner by Monday, May 16. Under the Brown Act, committees on CSU campuses are required to put their agendas up 72 hours before their meetings.

  “I never had anyone request that we put the agenda online,” Wallace said.

Kwon said the committee, unfortunately, does not poll CSUB students on certain increases. He added the committee should go to the campus and see what the pulse is, and they should go to ASI board of directors meetings every week.

Kwon said he wishes departments would come to ASI first, so they can take a stance on it first and then bring it to the committee.

“That’s what I ultimately would push for moving forward with this fee advisory committee,” he said. “I know that it is student majority, but sometimes when we vote on behalf of the campus, students are wondering [why we didn’t come to them], so I think in the future we need to proceed in that way.”

Business major Abby Mawhorter, a staff member at the writing lab, said that the fee increase was needed.

“I think that it’s beneficial,” Mawhorter said. “The conversion from the quarter system to semester system, it’s about equal fee raising. So the conversion is equal I think.”

English graduate student Jessica Flores listed multiple benefits that the writing lab had to offer.

“I think it would be a really good idea if students actually used it,” Flores said. “Students are paying for all this, and they don’t realize it, so maybe now that they are raising fees students will become aware of it. Hopefully, they will take advantage.”

Wallace stated that the Campus Fee Committee had a number of requests for fee increases.

“This is a different year because of the number of course fee requests based on the conversion from quarter to semester.” Wallace said. “You have a number of people who are discussing what has been requested and again and I love the fact that the way it is set up. The students are the one who have the majority vote.”