Take a hike, students: California State University students are always complaining that they’re broke. Now the school system itself is saying the same thing, which is why the CSU Finance Committee voted to increase tuition fees 30 percent on Wednesday morning.
When the vote was taken, audience members yelled things like, “Let’s go out and picket!” and “What you guys are doing is wrong!” Despite their protests, the increase doesn’t really amount to that much money. Putting in an extra 40 hours at work or dipping into Mom and Dad’s bank account should take care of the extra $474 that students will now have to pay annually to help compensate for the state budget cuts of $260.7 million to the CSU system.
Although Chico State is still affordable by comparison with most other colleges, the timing of the increase couldn’t be worse. Students will have only around two weeks to fork over the extra money in order to make the July 31 deadline for fee payment.
Even with the increase, some services will still be cut at Chico State. George Wellman, associate vice-president for financial services, explains that “the buildings aren’t going to be as clean as they used to be” at the school, due to lack of funding to hire custodians.
Long memory: Jim Sweeney, pictured here, who led Enloe Hospital for 28 years until his retirement in 1995, called to let us know there was something wrong with our coverage last week of the sale of the Enloe Health System’s 248-acre site on Bruce Road—and it wasn’t just that bungle about Enloe not paying property taxes on it (See “Correction,” page 5).
Enloe officials say that once they realized they couldn’t afford to build a new, $300 million hospital on that land, the goal was to maximize the investment in the property by eventually selling it. But Sweeney remembers differently. “We bought it with the intention of the next 100 years,” he said, and there was no way they were ever going to spent $300 million on it. Instead, the plan was to stop building on The Esplanade site (multiple stories and parking structures were too costly) and construct a Bruce Road facility in phases, starting with a $6 million, 50-bed hospital plus parking. “It was just expected that we would gradually fade out the other hospital in time.”
Sweeney is the first to acknowledge he’s not in charge anymore, but that doesn’t keep him from feeling “disappointed” that the land was sold—and at a price that he doesn’t think is much more than it was worth when he retired. Even with lower profit margins for hospitals these days, Sweeney believes it would have been “economically more sound” to build on Bruce.