Editorial: Student Success Fee forums fail students

Editorial: Student Success Fee forums fail students

by Staff

San Diego State students are in the midst of a historic decision. The problem is, most of them don’t realize it.

The recently proposed Student Success Fee is currently up for debate in information forums held twice daily. Students are invited to attend these as a part of an alternative consultation process. Those who attend the forums are given the opportunity to give their recommendations for whether or not the new fee should be implemented and at what price.

Unfortunately, because of low student turnout and a general lack of understanding from the student body regarding the purpose of the forums, they are not working as effectively as intended.

Because of this, The Aztec’s editorial board believes the alternative consultation process will fail to produce accurate results that reflect the wishes of the majority of the student body. We do not feel comfortable endorsing a particular decision regarding the Student Success Fee at this time, as we feel the lack of participation has left too many fellow Aztecs uninformed about something that could greatly impact their finances and academics. We ask the administration to extend the dates of these forums and mobilize every resource in its power to reach students and inform them of their right to be heard.

Although the idea to include students in the decision-making process may be respectable in theory, in reality it has come to no avail. The school administration has failed the student body in their efforts to promote the forums and thoroughly explain their purpose. As far as we are aware, their efforts to publicize the events have been limited to an advertisement in this publication, classroom announcements, a few small fliers and an announcement on SDSU NewsCenter. However, none of these tactics accurately explain the opportunity to offer feedback. Instead, the use of vague phrasing such as “We want your feedback,” which confuses the true significance of student feedback and that attendance is mandatory to vote on a fee that could change the future of the university. While it’s possible the administration has gone to further lengths to reach students, if we, the student journalists of the university, have failed to pick up on it, then it’s likely the insignificance of the attempts have also left many other students in the dark.

Considering the powers of mass communication we have seen the administration put into effect time and time again to promote happenings on campus, it seems odd and frankly unreasonable that such strategies aren’t being put into play to inform students of an issue of this magnitude. Those in charge of this promotion have the power to send daily mass emails and text messages. There could be posters covering every surface of campus, professors could be making announcements in every class, representatives could be tabling every day. All of these options would cost the university little to nothing, while greatly increasing the likelihood that more students would at least understand their options and the decision before them.

At the forums, dialogue is encouraged and the presenters seem genuinely dedicated to making sure the attendees understand the implications and necessities of the fee. It’s a shame that the same attitude didn’t carry over to dedication to raising awareness for the forums and the issue to begin with.

If the university is serious about including students in the decision of what kind of financial burden they feel is suitable and feasible, it’s time to act on it. Simply offering inclusion means nothing without the proper implementation. If students are meant to be a part of the process, it’s the responsibility of the university to educate and inform them in as many ways as possible. Any differentiation fails the alternative consultation process and robs the student body of its opportunity to have a voice in the most important decision facing the university in a generation or more.

Photo by Monica Linzmeier, Photo Editor