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Student association responds to budget cuts, fee hikes

Long Beach State is facing the possibility of furloughs, faculty layoffs and higher tuition as a result of Jerry Brown’s proposed $1.4 billion budget cut to California’s universities.

The proposed budget cuts would affect University of California schools, California State universities and community colleges. Of the $1.4 billion cut, $500 million would be taken from the 23 CSU campuses, similar to what was cut in 2009, according to Christopher Chavez, President of California Student State Association.

Although the state legislature has not yet approved the state funding, action has already begun.

Chavez went to the state capital to testify to the assembly of higher education committee Jan. 18. However, he admitted that the fight to end budget cuts for education would not be easy.

“Well, to be perfectly blunt, this is going to be a major uphill battle,” Chavez said. “It’s going to take a lot of effort.”

Chavez plans to visit Sacramento at least once a month this semester.

According to the Los Angeles Times, UC schools have already decided to raise tuition for undergraduates for 2011-2012 by 8 percent, or $822.

In addition to the threat of raised tuition, canceled classes, furloughs and increased class sizes, student life on campus is also in danger.

In an e-mail to the Daily 49er, Associated Students Inc. Treasurer Jameson Nyeholt said that, if the proposed budget cuts affect enrollment, students can also expect changes in ASI.

The majority of the ASI budget, 71 percent, is made up of student fees. Therefore, decrees in enrollment would have a direct effect on ASI’s budget and operations.

“The changes that students will see in their ASI if our revenue is decreased are smaller programmatic events, lesser funding to students’ organizations, reductions in hiring and reductions in funding to other services provided by the entity,” Nyeholt said.

With such possible threats for students in California, Chavez urged students to become engaged and unite against the cuts.

The March for Higher Education on March 14 last year attracted 13,000 students to the state’s capital.

“We need to remember 2009,” Chavez said. “Things got really hard, and we are about to revisit that time.”

 


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