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Students Protest at Cal State Board Meeting

Governor was to attend the CSU Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, the first since his Prop. 30 passed, and a student fee hike was agendized. But it was delayed until Wednesday's meeting.

About 50 Students for Quality Education members were at a rally outside the Cal State University Board of Trustees meeting in downtown Long Beach at 1 p.m. to respond to the delay in Tuesday's scheduled vote on undergraduate tuition increases.

"The fact that they postponed a vote is a step in the right direction but there was no statement about why it was delayed," said Ojaala Ahmad, 22, a Cal State Long Beach student, speaking amid loud chanting. "We hope that we can be part of the process of creating solutions for students....And we're against more fees."

The group is insisting that students be included in the discussion of the fees and their consideration in the wake of Governor Jerry Brown's narrowly triumphant Prop. 30, which increases sales tax to pay for public education.

Brown was to attend the morning's meeting at CSU headquarters in downtown Long Beach. But Tuesday morning, the CSU office announced the fees proposal would be postponed until Wednesday (the board meetings two consecutive days each month).

Just one day after Cal State University officials announced some tuition rollbacks as a result of  Prop. 30's passage last week, the same officials announced Thursday that new fees will be considered next week.

A so-called "graduation incentive fee" will be discussed at next week's CSU board meeting aimed at trying to free up space for some 20,000 students that it says have been denied admission at the system's 23 campuses this year.

After announcing Wednesday Nov. 7 that some students would receive refunds of up to $249 each thanks to the passage of Proposition 30, CSU officials said Thursday, Nov. 8, that students need to graduate faster, avoid repeating classes and avoid enrolling only to drop a class later. CSU officials said the fees are aimed at freeing up classroom space, giving more people access to courses.

"It is critical that we provide additional opportunities for eligible students to be admitted to the CSU," according to Ephraim P. Smith, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. "With massive budget cuts, we have had to deny admissions to over 20,000 students who did everything right."

The new fees are designed to motivate existing students to graduate as soon as they can to make way for students who can't yet be admitted due to budget restraints.

Patch will follow the story so check back for developments.

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