Gov. Jerry Brown thanked California State University leaders today for postponing a vote - originally scheduled for this afternoon - on a controversial proposal to charge extra fees on "super seniors," course repeaters and students who take an extra-heavy course load.
The proposal had caused uproar among students and faculty, and threatened to steal some thunder from Brown's unusual appearance at the board of trustees meeting today in Long Beach, where he thanked students and faculty for their help in passing his tax measure, Proposition 30.
"You did heroic work here," Brown told them. "It did go against the trend and some people's expectations, but it really is sorely needed. Of course it's not a panacea so we are going to have to continue to manage our resources very carefully. I understand the fee proposal was an effort to do that -- to free up seats, to get more kids into the university. So we'll take a look at that. We all will, and I want to participate."
The decision to postpone the fee item came hours after the announcement late yesterday that Brown would attend today's meeting. But a CSU spokesman said the governor's appearance had nothing to do with the last-minute removal of the controversial item from today's agenda. Instead, he said, board chairman Bob Linscheid felt the proposal should be studied further because of complaints from students and last week's approval of Proposition 30, which will give CSU an additional $125 million.
Even with the new revenue coming into state colleges, Brown told trustees there would still be "very tough decisions ahead."
"Keeping down fees means you've got to keep down costs. And it also means we have to find more state revenue if we want to really invest in our higher education," Brown said. "We have a lot of other claimants who are looking for money from the state budget."
Brown also urged students, faculty and administrators to tone down their "adversarial relationship."
"We have our divisions but I think the people have given us a vote of confidence, contrary to the skeptics and what I call the dystopians," Brown said.
"We got a vote of confidence, and now let's measure up to the expectations of the voters. That means getting out of our comfort zone, whether we are trustees or faculty or administrators or students, or anyone else. The taxpayers got out of their comfort zone and we have to follow suit."