President Corrigan must put a stop to frivolous spending during financial crisis

Robert Corrigan
Illustration by Sara Donchey

While President Robert A. Corrigan’s new pet project, “Student Voices,” enjoyed front-page publicity last week in the San Francisco Chronicle as a way for students to voice their frustrations about CSU fee increases, another forgotten conflict over fees quietly continued its path through student pocketbooks.

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center, a student-funded project that will increase the space for club athletic groups and student use, was initially approved by Corrigan in March 2010 after a protracted and protested campaign by Associated Students, Inc.

The complex, which currently carries an estimated price tag of $80 million on the low end and $92 million on the high end, is being funded by a gradually increasing fee that will be generated solely by students. For this year, students paid $35 each semester. That will jump to $90 each semester for the next academic year, and an appalling $160 each semester by the fall of 2015.

The process of approving the fee was met with resistance in 2010. There was heated discussion surrounding the way that ASI side-stepped a student referendum to approve this fee. This argument has passed it’s expiration date. However, it is still worth debating what can be done to repair the damage and drop these fees.

According to those spearheading the current plan to construct the building on the site of the still-functional Sutro Library, the fee is set in stone.

That is not entirely true.

The fee was approved by President Corrigan after meeting with an advisory board comprised of ASI members, the Cesar Chavez Student Center and Campus Recreation representatives. This campus-based fee is enacted at the president’s discretion.

What those involved fail to mention is that President Corrigan has the opportunity to repeal this fee.

According to the SF State Catalog, the University president may revisit campus-based fees either upon the suggestion of an advisory board or other sources if he so determines.

We’d like to step in and advise the president on this matter.

While the idea of a new center to support student health and wellness is an admirable goal, students simply cannot afford it right now. It’s time to revisit this fee before we break ground on a project that is simply beyond our means (and wallets).

If you have been saving up for a new car and lose your job, guess what? That new car fund is suddenly re-named the rent fund.

For students who are so strapped for cash that they are willing to walk out, protest and write their legislators in anguish over a $500 tuition increase, an increasing fee that will in short time amount to $320 a year is just too much.

Additionally, when ASI proposed this project, it was said that alumni would have access to the facility, perhaps with a nominal fee attached. Now, even that access is in doubt.

Now we’re paying for something that most students currently attending the University won’t even see to fruition.

Mr. President, while we know that you are reaching the end of your tenure, please take a moment to think about what this money means to students, and reexamine this luxury that we cannot bear the burden of paying for.

Give us back our own money as a parting gift.