Running on empty: It ain’t pretty, but, hey, we knew that, right?

In a meeting filled with somber resignation, members of the University Budget Committee had but one question: How much will Chico State have to cut, and how much will it hurt?

The campus’ share of the $280 million in cuts to the CSU system is expected to be just over $9 million. President Paul Zingg said the No. 1 priority is to make sure Chico State hits its enrollment target of 13,912 students. But to do that, it must also provide the course sections those students need and want—a tall order when cutting the budget means cutting faculty.

Higher-education reps are hanging their hopes on the tactic of advocacy—something CSUs have floundered on compared to their counterparts at community colleges. A likely target will be the prison system and asking legislators to justify how the state can spend $10,500 to educate a college student for a year and $30,800 to incarcerate a criminal.

“We are competing right now for a very, very small piece of a sizable pie,” said Zingg, who added that the state has disintegrated to the point where it’s now “run by referendum.”

Arrestin’ o’ the green: St. Patrick’s Day in Chico was far less rowdy than it has been in the past, due probably to Chico State’s scheduling of Spring Break to coincide with the holiday. But even with many of the students boozing it up in more exotic locales, there were still a few hundred die-hards roaming downtown in search of that elusive pot of Goldschlager at the end of the rainbow. By the looks of many of them, if they ever did find a pot of gold they probably puked in it.Cops arrested 54 people, down from last year’s total of 70. Of those arrested, 32 were charged with being drunk in public; four were allegedly driving drunk; two people were arrested for fighting and two for assaulting a cop. Around 30 percent of those arrested were reportedly from out of town.

Body found: Butte County sheriff’s deputies are hoping forensic evidence will help them determine the identity and cause of death of a person found burned beyond recognition Monday in the middle of an entry road leading to Oro-Bangor Highway near Oroville.

The body, discovered by passersby, is thought to be that of an adult male, possibly in his 20s. Sheriff’s Sergeant Andy Duch said there was “definitely some foul play” involved, as an accelerant had been used to torch the body. Duch added that investigators will have little to go on until the results of an autopsy, scheduled for Wednesday, are in. Investigators did manage to get some fingerprints, which were sent to the Department of Justice lab in Sacramento to check against state databases.