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CSU Trustees Weigh Competing Student And Faculty Needs

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | KPCC

California State University students say a draft plan to automatically increase tuition each year would shut a lot of them out. They criticized a university task force proposal at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach.

The proposal is part of a wide-ranging plan to eventually raise more money for Cal State’s 23 campuses to decrease reliance on state funding. The tuition increase would be tied to the rate of inflation, which has generally been less than the university’s previous fee hikes. Cal State LA student Christian Torres says any tuition increase would push a public higher education out of reach of many students.

"That’s money out of our pockets, that’s food that we have to buy, that’s rent, all things pile up on each other, right," says Torres.

An automatic increase is far from a done deal. Some Cal State trustees asked that the next draft drop that wording. And Gov. Jerry Brown is requiring Cal State to freeze tuition for one more year in order to receive a proposed $148 million funding increase in the upcoming state budget.

Meanwhile, California State University faculty members enlisted the power of music to convince administrators to grant a five percent salary increase in stalled contract talks.

About two dozen faculty sang about their woes at the Board of Trustees meeting. 

“At UC they get raises and the community colleges too, while we only get a pittance here in the CSU. Which side are you on now, which side are you on, which side are you on now, which side are you on," they sang loudly.

CSU administrators say a two percent increase is generous. Faculty members have approved a strike but union leaders have yet to decide whether to do so.

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