Today, the California State University Board of Trustees voted to institute an additional 20% fee increase, over and above the standard 10% fee increase approved in May. This is to counter the gaping $584 million hole that the California legislature left for us. During today's meeting of the Committee on Finance, to which the fee proposal was referred, the Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi recommended that the proposal be amended with the stipulation that the Board lobby the CA state legislature to adopt AB656, which would impose an oil severance tax, in the State of California, yielding $1 billion to higher education in this state (the Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California), with the additional provision that upon successfully achieving this tax, the Board would consequently reduce the tuition and furlough policies that had been instituted for immediate relief from the present crisis. This proposal was seconded during the committee meeting, but summarily opposed; it was not heard by the entire Board. Please see the full text of the resolution.
Arguments in support of the fee increase cited the State as having the lowest fees in the country, while these claims were countered with the cost of living in this State. The fourth strongest economy in the world, as the State was cited, was then recommended to reduce the affordability of its (arguably) most effective educational institution to solve a problem inherited by the CSU from the state legislature. The final challenge to the new policy rested on the simple fact that it seemed that the decision-makers had not exercised sufficient innovation and creativity in arriving at this conclusion, and that, given the resources (if only intellectual), students, faculty, and staff from the CSU would take action to lobby Sacramento of their own means.
Education is the most idealistic institution of our modern society; politics does not come close; medicine demands perfection, which can only be achieved by an equally thorough practical and theoretical education. It seems quite bleak to hope that these ideals can still be sought after, given the additional burden imposed today upon the 450,000 students who currently attend the 23 CSU campuses statewide.
Then we wonder how Open Source could help alleviate the budget burden... most likely not in the short run, and not without changes in staff to accommodate the transition.
Registered Linux User #370740 (http://counter.li.org)