By Staff Editorial
By Staff Editorial
Fall 2009 will be the semester from hell.
From canceled classes to fee increases and transfer holds, registration for the fall 2009 semester has become almost impossible to navigate. But now, the budget cuts have delivered the unkindest cut of all for students who registered using priority registration.
Those students, many of whom are about to graduate, registered before the fee increase went into effect and as such owed the college extra fees on top of what they had already paid.
When these students failed to pay said fees, they were all dropped from their classes for non-payment. While that may sound like a simple solution, unfortunately, there are serious questions about whether the college made every opportunity to notify the affected individuals or if they merely tried what they thought was the easiest avenue and the students paid the price.
A lot of the students hurt by this decision need certain classes in order to graduate and admissions’ response that they simply re-register is beyond ridiculous.
By the time many of these students found out about their circumstances it was too late to make a payment and certainly too late to get into an already full class with an equally full waitlist.
The college says everyone was notified through student e-mails and were also sent bills. First of all many students don’t even use their RCC e-mail and secondly if you think you’ve already registered and paid, why would you check your district e-mail in the middle of summer?
At the time that the college raised fees, many students were on vacation or working, meaning they were out of contact for several weeks.
How can the administration think that students could possibly receive the message that they owed the college money in time to pay off the balance?
On the college’s Web site it states that students will be billed for the difference between old fees and new fees.
When someone says that they’ll bill you that implies that once you receive said bill you will be given adequate time to pay it. Translation: you have a grace period.
For students suffering the consequences of the college’s unilateral decision making, they have very little recourse.
They can show up the first day of class and beg for mercy from an instructor. However, many class sizes are set based on the number of computers or lab areas in a classroom. Students who were added to a class based on waitlists don’t deserve to get bumped because the college screwed up, so what’s the alternative? There doesn’t seem to be one.
However, students can make their voices heard on the subject of budget cuts because almost every decision will have an adverse effect on them.
Riverside City College cut 400 sections for the fall 2009 semester and raised fees in almost every category.
That really doesn’t sound like a fair trade.
By the way, the controversial fee raise happened between summer and fall, when no one was paying attention.
At the same time they finally got rid of the smoking section and tried to change the maximum units a student could take.
The administration obviously wants to make these changes without getting input from students even though they’re the ones affected.
Look, everyone understands that California’s budget is in shambles and some tough decisions are going to have to be made, however, when those decisions are going to have this much of an impact on students’ lives and futures they must be included in the decision making process.
Instead of ramming these changes down the students’ throats and leaving them to suffer the consequences, the college could ask students for help and advice. They can’t be surprised at how smart and adept they are. They’re the ones who taught them to be that way.