Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana is attacking working-class students by using higher fees

Because of the mismanagement of funds, SSU administrators want to raise fees by $500!
Why the administration is raising fees? Find out more on the official website here [].
With your help we are taking a stand against university administration mismanagement and we are starting at home with Sonoma State University. With state college students already being squeezed financially, SSU has out done them all by mismanaging funds and then turning to the students to pay for it.
Help us stop this injustice and please sign the petition to tell the President of SSU not to impose a $500 fee for all students. We believe education should be available to all.
"Petitioning SSU President Ruben Armiñana: Do not add a $500 annual fee increase for all students at Sonoma State University"
Petition by "SSU Freedom From Fees" [ñana-do-not-add-a-500-annual-fee-increase-for-all-students-at-sonoma-state-university]:
Sonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana, is preparing to announce the imposition of a $500 annual fee increase for all students. We strongly believe the campus already has adequate resources to insure that all students can get the classes they need for timely graduation. Solving this problem means that management must decide on priority use of campus resources. Students and their families should not have to bail out campus mismanagement especially when students already take on a burden of debt greater than previous generations of college students.
Please sign to oppose the imposition new fees on students at Sonoma State University, and to pledge to withhold all future donations to the campus until such fees are rescinded.
[Text of Petition]
To: SSU President Ruben Armiñana, SSU President,
Do not add a $500 annual fee increase for all students at Sonoma State University, and if you do increase the annual fee I pledge to suspend all future donations to SSU.
[Your name]

Please Sign our petition in support of students and their families, and pledge to boycott future donations to Sonoma State University if the fee is not rescinded. *

Sonoma State University (SSU) President Ruben Armiñana is preparing to announce the imposition of a  $500 annual fee increase for all students in the fall of 2014. The proposed increase is called a “Success Fee” and would supposedly be used for more classes. The timing of the fee announcement comes just days after the ending of a registration crisis where many hundreds of students could not get the classes they need for graduation. Before 2011, fee increases required a campus wide student vote. The CSU Trustees now allow campus Presidents to impose fees with campus consultation only. In 1996, students at SSU voted down a proposed  $300 fee increase by a 2/3 margin.

Top reasons to Oppose New Fees at Sonoma State University

Sonoma State University SSU) receives more than enough money from the State of California to provide classes for all students to graduate in a timely manner.  However, the money has been mismanaged by the President through a bloated administration, the diversion of campus resources to the management of the Green Music Center, and failure to use money from campus profit making enterprises to support classroom instruction.

SSU students already pay the third highest fees of the 23 CSU campuses. A $500 increase would put SSU as the highest cost liberal arts campus in the entire California State University (CSU) only slightly behind California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)

Hundreds of SSU students will be forced to quit college if fees are raised by $500 and thousands are unsure if they could continue. In a survey of 300 students on campus in November of 2013 (90% Confidence level for 9,120 students) 8% answered no when asked if they could continue next year if fees were raised by $500 and 33% answered unsure. This survey is consistent with a survey completed in April of 2011.

Costs to attend SSU have increased 299% in ten years. In 2003, costs to attend SSU were $3,010. Ten years later the cost is $8,996.

SSU students graduate with the second highest amount of student loan debt in the CSU system.  62% of graduating SSU seniors in 2012 owed an average of $21,206. A $500 a year increase would add $2,000 or more to student debt making SSU the most debt burdened campus in the CSU system.

Increased costs will lower enrollment by working class and low-income families at SSU. A reduction in low-income working class families will also lower ethnic diversity at SSU.

SSU has a bloated administrative structure with the highest student to manager ratio in the CSU system and twice as many managers as similar size campuses. However, SSU Professors are the lowest paid on average in the entire CSU System.

SSU administration over the years has used lower portions of the state budget for academics. In 1999, SSU budgeted 55.1% of the state supported budget for academics, but in 2008-09, academics had been reduced to 48.35% of state funds.

Teaching and advising loads for tenure-track faculty continue to rise and student to advisor ratios are highest ever.  In 1993, SSU employed 236 tenure-track faculty teaching and advising 5,197 full time equivalent students. In 2013 employees 231 tenure-track faculty are teaching and advising 8,297 full time equivalent students. The current 293 part-time lecturers are not required nor paid to provide advising to students. Less tenure-track faculty are advising 60% more students than ten years ago.

SSU’s development office raises money primarily for buildings and the Green Music Center and not classroom instruction. SSU spends 76% of its donor gift disbursement distribution on buildings and other projects and only 18% on instructional programs. SSU’s ratio is the exact opposite of all other CSU campuses where the average donor gift disbursement to instructional programs is 63%.

SSU debts for construction exceed CSU standards. CSU Executive Order 944 requires the campus CFO to annually review the debt service coverage ratio (DSCR). As of June 2010, SSU’s DSCR was 1.4, which is greater then the state mandated DSCR limit of 1.35.

Analysis:  It is important to note that individual CSU campuses have internal flexibility in choosing to prioritize spending.  The SSU administration has consistently during the past 22 years demonstrated that academics are not the primary mission at SSU. This is why SSU has disproportionate administrative costs and the highest fees in the CSU, when most all other campuses prioritize campus resources for academics. It is also the reason why in 2007 faculty voted no confidence in President Armiñana. It is absolutely wrong to let the SSU administration get away with forcing students and their families to bail out their administrative mismanagement.

* Note: Our intent with a donations boycott is to put pressure in the SSU campus administration and the CSU Trustees (Such a boycott could spread to other campuses if successful at SSU). However, our intent is not to boycott donations to instructional programs and activities earmarked specifically for student education as athletics, individual departments, Holocaust Studies Center and other academic specific units. However, it is important that donors for such activities monitor the distribution of their monies as the campus administration is noted for the diversion of development funds for administrative activities.


SSU Common Data Set []

SSU Senate Budget Committee Chronicles []

May 2007, 73.4% of SSU faculty Vote no confidence in President Arminana’s leadership. []

The Financialization of Education and Sonoma State University []

Green Music Centers Costs Steal Money from Students & Classes []

Wasteful Spending at Sonoma State University []

SSU and The Corporatization of Public Universities []

Interviews of 16 Department Chairs at Sonoma State University during the spring 2012 semester indicate that over the past 15 years there has been an overall decline in the quality of education. []

Occupied Sonoma State University: No Billionaire Left Behind and the sordid tale of the financialization and corporatization of one California State University []

Fiscal Mismanagement Continues at SSU—Chronicles XXII 1-2-4 []

Flashing Red Lights at SSU: High Student Fees, Low Faculty Salaries, High Debt and Lots of Administrators []

Sonoma State Student Center Could Bankrupt the Campus []

SSU Administration Rigs Student Election for Fee Increase []

Survey Shows SSU Students Oppose Fee Increase and Want More Classes []

Report From The Senate Budget Committee Spring 2006 []

Summary from Senate Budget Report for 2005/06 In 2005/06 the Schools received less money (by 1 percent) than they did in 2001/02 at a time that the total sent to campus increased by 16 percent! []

Sonoma State University 1994-2007: A Study of Student Racial Diversity and Family Income at SSU Compared to Other California State Universities []

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