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Unsettling settlements

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The cost of attending Cal Poly is similar to purchasing half a condo—not in SLO County, of course, but somewhere else.

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According to Cal Poly, an in-state undergraduate student attending the California State University for one year will spend about $30,000, which includes room, board, books, and tuition. Sounds like a down payment!

Four years of school costs $120,000—and, hopefully, that's when you graduate with that bachelor's degree. Or, you could live with your parents and save $10,000 a year. Doesn't that sound exciting!

Whichever option you choose, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong just announced that the cost of attending school is about to increase. And there's nothing anyone can do about it. It's his decision to make, apparently. Because the increase is targeted at "fees" not "tuition," nobody but the head cheese needs to approve it. So he's just strong-arming all of the university's potential new students into coughing up $600 to $800 more every year for the next four years just to "learn by doing."

By 2025, incoming freshmen students will be paying between $3,600 and $4,600 per year in their "College Based Fee," which is between $648 and $1,044 this academic year, according to Mustang News. By 2025, the cost of attending Cal Poly will have increased to about $33,000 per year. But tuition and fees will only be between $13,000 and $14,000. And I'll bet housing and food will also increase in cost! Super affordable!

Don't worry though, this super affordable bachelor's degree "fee" increase will help lower and middle-income students attend the country's largest public university system's most expensive school, Armstrong promised.

"Initially, we plan to use 60 percent of the additional revenue to increase financial aid. This will be adjusted on an annual basis," Armstrong said in a video he released explaining the reason for the increase.

What does he mean by "adjusted"? Does he get to pick what to do with the funds? Maybe it will go to financial aid and maybe it won't?

Maybe Cal Poly students can take a page out of the Paso Robles High School students-against-masking playbook and stage a civil disobedience that gets results! They didn't wear masks to school and the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District responded by awarding them a get-out-of-masks card two weeks before the state is repealing its masks in schools mandate! Wow. So cool.

Paso social studies teacher Geoffrey Land, who opted to continue wearing his mask in compliance with state law, said he was proud of his students for engaging in peaceful, non-disruptive civil action. And I can dig it. Maybe their screaming parents could learn a thing or two from them.

Of course, the biggest difference between Cal Poly and Paso High, besides the obvious, is that one is a choice. Students can choose not to attend Cal Poly. And it seems like that's already a problem, which is why Armstrong insisted the university needs to increase its fees—so that more students who need financial aid can afford to attend his school!

Uhh, OK?

If the school was more affordable to attend, wouldn't it get the same results? Instead, the fee increase makes it even more unaffordable to attend Cal Poly.

If I was a potential future student, I would want to know that none of the fee increase was going to make it into administrators' pockets—that none of it would add to the nearly $600,000 in pay and benefits that Armstrong puts in his pocket every year thanks to the generous support of students and taxpayers like you.

And the support of California State University (CSU) students and the state's taxpayers also made it possible for former Fresno State University President-turned CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro to resign in disgrace and still receive what equates to about a $400,000 salary for the next 12 months and still have access to a potential full-time professor position at Cal Poly's Orfalea College of Business.

Hurray for resignations! Where the person in trouble makes out like a bandit.

According to USA Today reporting, Castro basically let Fresno State Vice President of Student Affairs Frank Lamas get away with sexually harassing and bullying his employees and others during his time at Fresno. Despite Castro's apparent knowledge of at least seven of the 12 complaints filed against Lamas, Castro recommended Lamas for an achievement award and somehow finagled a deal with Lamas to "retire" from his post with full benefits and a $260,000 settlement as well as a letter of recommendation if the guy ever wanted to work at a college outside of the CSU system.

Your hard-earned dollars at work, everyone! And the worst part? This little settlement with the alleged harasser was signed off on by the dude who was the CSU chancellor prior to Castro—and somehow the CSU board of trustees had no knowledge of any of it when they picked Castro to succeed Timothy White!

And now the trustees are apparently going to call for a "comprehensive systemwide assessment" of how CSUs are doing when it comes to Title IX, which supposedly protects people from discrimination based on sex. You don't need an assessment.

As far as I understand it: Title IX complaints don't seem to get taken seriously, perpetrators get to perpetrate, and then get to resign with a sweet settlement. Δ

The Shredder is looking for an affordable house payment. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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