Thousands pay $5 fee uninformed of opt out
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 15:10
The fee waiver alternative allowing Contra Costa College students to opt out of the $5 student activity fee this semester was poorly advertised by the Associated Student Union.
Approved by the district Governing Board, the $5 fee was implemented at all district campuses during the spring semester 2012.
The fee, which produced $46,630 for the CCC ASU during the spring semester, was advertised through word of mouth, pamphlets handed out on campus and available for download through the college website.
However, very little effort was put into reaching students with the information that they could opt out of the fee.
The ASU’s half-hearted attempt to inform students of the waiver, during Welcome Week (Aug. 20-24) and through “word of mouth,” failed miserably.
ASU President Jazmine Ramezan-zadeh said that they “just haven’t done anything yet to advertise the waiver online.” It should be noted that no other forms of promoting the opt out alternative have been made on campus as of today.
And, interestingly enough, the last day to turn in the waiver form has long passed — Aug. 30 — meaning the ASU has already missed the chance to inform students of it this semester. Oops.
The students who did not opt out before Aug. 30 must pay the fee by the semester’s end or will not be allowed to enroll in classes for spring 2013.
Only about 10 students of the 7,096 who enrolled this semester actually turned in the waiver form to the Cashier’s Office, cashier Alma Cardenas said.
Many students knew about the $5 activity fee charge. But most, not knowing of the waiver, believed the fee was mandatory. And, as of today, the fee is non-refundable.
The problem with not effectively advertising the fee waiver is simple. Failing to promote the fee as optional, essentially makes the fee mandatory.
The ASU piling another fee on top of the students they represent isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when that money will go toward things students want.
But not making an honest effort to inform students that the fee doesn’t have to be paid is wrong.
Student governments at both CCC sister colleges Los Medanos and Diablo Valley advertised the fee waiver through word of mouth and online prior to the Aug. 30 deadline.
The decision not to advertise the fee waiver on the college website makes the ASU look lazy — or devious.
The ASU needs to do a better job of advertising the waiver. Its negligence to do is egregious and should not be tolerated in the future.