Santa Monica College sets special meeting on two-tier fee plan
The Santa Monica College governing board will hold a special meeting Friday to consider postponing a plan to offer a two-tier education program after students protesting the plan were pepper-sprayed by campus police.
Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott called college President Chui L. Tsang this week to express reservations about the plan and its legality.
The college last month approved the concept, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, that would offer high-demand, core education courses such as English, math and history at a cost of $180 per unit, along with state-funded courses set at $46 per unit.
The program was to be offered this summer with enrollment beginning next month. The special session is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the campus' theater arts main stage.
Scott says that the program violates state education codes that permit employers to offer so-called contract courses to fill specific needs but does not allow students to be charged differential fees for the types of courses Santa Monica plans to offer.
Scott has asked the state attorney general for an opinion.
Santa Monica college officials contend that the new concept is legal and will allow more students to obtain the classes they need to transfer and graduate.
At a regular meeting of the board Tuesday, police used pepper spray to disperse student protesters, many of them angered because they were denied access to the small board room.
On Thursday, about 100 students demonstrated against the plan and have called for a referendum on the issue.
-- Carla Rivera
Photo: Students from Santa Monica College march to the president's office Thursday to demand an end to the two-tier program. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times.