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Campus building-use policy under review

Enrique Raymundo

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Dr. Patricia Edelmann, professor, biology department. Courtesy of Chico State.


Chico State’s policy for determining how much it charges organizations to use its facilities is under review by campus administration. The policy generated some controversy last semester with a biological sciences instructor who attempted to hold a regular class review session and was told she would be charged for it.

The purpose of the facilities use policy is so that Chico State can
recoup the costs of running utilities like lights and air conditioning
and paying custodial staff, said Joe Wills, a Chico State spokesperson. The campus does not profit from
the charges.

The tables for determining prices have been temporarily removed
from the Chico State website while they are under review. The new chart
will be available later this spring, Wills said.

Before 2006, tuition fee revenue was
handled by the state treasury. It is now held by California State University, said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the CSU. A CSU policy, Executive
Order 1000, was written to mandate how campuses would manage their own money.

The president of each CSU campus is responsible for making sure that services, products or facilities are paid for if used by branches or auxiliaries of the CSU, like clubs or advisory boards, according to the order.

Chico State created its facilities use policy to comply with this order.

The purpose of the facilities use policy is so that Chico State can recoup the costs of running utilities like lights and air conditioning and paying custodial staff, Wills said. The campus does not profit from the charges.

Whenever campus facilities are used outside normal business hours, the university charges the users according to a fixed rate. The amount paid depends on the facility being used and the group using the facility.

Patricia Edelmann, professor of biological sciences, said she has held review sessions for her exams in classrooms on the
weekends for decades.

Last semester, Edelmann held a final for her “Allied Health Microbiology” course on a Monday. She wanted to hold a review session on the Sunday morning before the final.

The office of the vice president for business and finance informed the biological sciences department that if she pursued this session, it would cost the department $400, said Jeffrey Bell, department chair of biological sciences.

Edelmann held the session on Saturday instead. She said didn’t believe that
it was as helpful or convenient for her students as the Sunday session
would have been.

“In my mind, there’s no such thing as ‘outside business hours’ in an academic unit,” Edelmann said. “If I want to have my students meet me in Holt Hall on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning, I should be able to do that.”

Use of facilities costs money, and the campus must have a means of repayment, Wills said.

“It states clearly that we can’t give away the use of state buildings for free,” Wills said. “We must have a policy to recover costs. Every other CSU does as well.”

Enrique Raymundo can be reached at [email protected] or @ERaymundoCV on Twitter.

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Campus building-use policy under review