Out-of-state, international students to pay big-time
California State University trustees reluctantly but unanimously agreed May 14 to jack up fees for non-resident students.

Full-time students who hail from outside California, including overseas, currently pay an average of $10,336 a year—$246 a unit. Now, they’ll pay another 15 percent over that.

Faculty members speaking at the meeting said not only is it not fair to use those fees to make up for budget cuts, but also that faculty organizations should have had a say in it. The increase is expected to generate $11.7 million, which will pay for a 1.5 percent salary increase.

“The problem is this fee increase has been directly linked to faculty pay,” observed Dan Cartwright, the student representative to the Board of Trustees. “I think it is unfair that student fees are on the betting table when it comes to faculty salary advance; it is the state’s responsibility, not the students'.”

Another concern is that the higher fees will discourage diversity on the CSU’s 23 campuses. And students were never warned this could be coming.

The increases will take effect next semester.

Late BMU: Someone must pay
In a decision that makes Chico State University and its Associated Students look very much in the right, a California State University panel has ruled that the contractor in charge of building the new Bell Memorial Union is due nowhere near the amount of money it had sought.

The university (which must do the dealing, since the A.S. is technically a “third-party beneficiary") hoped to withhold as much as $1.8 million in “liquidated damages” because the building was completed a year late and over budget. The contractor, Allen L. Bender, Inc., of Sacramento blamed circumstances and subcontractors and contested the damages of up to $2,900 a day.

The matter was to be sorted out at a claims review board hearing held in Long Beach in March. Last week, university and A.S. officials learned of the board’s decision, which was that Bender should get $600,000, $200,000 of that from the university and the rest from, strangely, himself. (The company is in a dispute with its subcontractors, to whom Bender must pass along some money.)

“It’s good news on the construction cost overruns, but it’s not over yet,” said incoming A.S. President Jimmy Reed at a May 14 Governmental Affairs Committee meeting. He was alluding to Bender’s threat to sue the university and the A.S. for $5 million.

Bender has 30 days to appeal, and it’s expected the company will do so. Company representatives previously told the News & Review it’s their policy not to give press interviews. More accurately, they’ve allowed quotes in positive stories.

Attack of the 6-inch clones
Butte County sheriffs said they pinched some major endo May 9 when they executed a search warrant at a suspected Berry Creek marijuana farm. According to a press release, agents found and arrested John Braid Young, 54, and Dawn Marie Allen, 46, without incident when they were discovered tending a sophisticated indoor garden.

Upon further search, the agents said they found a whole barn full of plants, 959 in all, ranging from 6-inch clones to 5-foot-tall mature plants growing under artificial lights with a timed watering system. They estimated the street value of the seized weed at $500,000 and said the operation could potentially have gone through three to four growing cycles a year.

Young and Allen were arrested at the scene, and warrants were issued for two suspected collaborators, Melody Ann Campbell, 44, and Steven Lee Peterson, 53, who were later arrested in Monterey.

Chico-area stoners were reportedly "way bummed" upon hearing the news.