A sign that read “How CSUF is ripping you off” drew students to the Cal State Fullerton College Republicans display in the Quad Thursday.
The display featured a pamphlet and visuals detailing the club’s issues with CSUF’s distribution of funds that come from students.
“Our goal today is to highlight some of the flaws that we see in the system that we feel should be addressed,” said College Republicans club President Christopher Boyle.
One component of the College Republicans display looked at general education. Boyle said general education classes are wasted time that could be spent getting practical work experience.
“I think general education is a very insidious way the school tries to rip off the average student and at the same time plump up the school,” Boyle said.
Interim director of Undergraduate Studies and General Education Brent Foster said in an email he believes general education classes allow students to “realize their potential” and become interested in areas they had not been exposed to before.
“Changing majors, selecting a minor, choosing to double major all have the propensity to stem from a GE course,” Foster said in the email. “The payoff for the student is a more valuable resume and set of skills and exposures when it comes to entering the job market and landing an opportunity.”
Employers consistently look for ‘“well-rounded” students with writing skills that general education courses focus on and help build, Foster said in an email.
Boyle said the reasoning that general education creates well-rounded members of society is common.
“All the information in the world is at a person’s fingertips for free,” Boyle said. “For a self-motivated person, becoming well-rounded is up to their own individual willpower.”
Boyle also said administrative costs were too high and not transparent enough.
Tuition funds contribute to employee compensation in the university’s annual operating budget, CSUF Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook said in an email.
Another component of the College Republican’s display was tape on the ground that outlined President Mildred Garcia’s private estate and tennis court. Inside the representation of the estate was a to-scale outline of a one-bedroom apartment a typical college student would live in.
“We’re arguing here for cutting administrative waste instead of dumping money on a program that’s flawed and making sure individual students have a say in how that money is spent, because the bottom line here is that we’re a customer,” Boyle said.
The club also criticized “campus luxuries,” including the expansion of the TSU and Spring Concert. Boyle said these are not things the students should be paying for.
Associated Students Inc. (ASI) funded the TSU expansion and Spring Concert, Cook said in an email. He said tuition funds did not contribute.
“The university did not fund those efforts,” Cook said in an email.
ASI fees paid for the project and concert, said ASI President Yanitza Berrios in a text message. Tuition is the same throughout the CSU system while fees range by campus.
Funding for the TSU expansion came from ASI union fees which go to buildings ASI owns, Berrios said in a text message. She said these fees were not raised because they had over $20 million in reserves from “careful” spending in past years.
She said ASB fees fund student programming like Spring Concert.
As part of their display, the club set up multiple buckets with labels such as “research,” “administration salaries” and “teacher salaries.” Club members gave students fake dollar bills as their “tuition” and asked them where they would like their money to go by putting their fake dollar bills in the buckets.
Second-year business finance major Douglas Kurtz said participating in the event showed him he was “quite wrong” about where he thought his tuition money was going.
“You kind of have an idea of (where tuition money is going) but you never really know the big picture of when you put everyone’s tuition in one big pot, where that’s really all going,” Kurtz said.
Kurtz said he usually doesn’t stop by events like this because it draws a crowd and yelling, but he said the club members putting on the event were approachable and just wanted to teach something.
Club members emphasized that while they do not support policies like a fully funded CSU that campus Democrat groups advocate for, they still believe tuition is too high.
“I think it goes beyond just being a Republican absolutely,” said CSUF College Republicans Vice President Amanda McGuire. “This is just college students telling other college students what’s happening on this campus.”