BOT votes to reduce units for some bachelor’s degrees

Shilah Montiel

Chancellor Timothy White sits in on the Board of Trustees meeting.

Ryah Cooley, City Editor

Unit caps are not mysterious to students within the Cal State University system, but now one lingers over their degrees.

A change made by the Cal State University Board of Trustees yesterday places a unit limit on bachelor’s degrees in the CSU. The BOT voted yesterday to pass changes to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, requiring that most undergraduate degrees within the 23-campus system be 120 units or less.

Exceptions to the policy include degrees pursuant to Title 5 of the state’s Code of Regulations or if the CSU chancellor makes an exception for a degree.

Title 5 currently allows exceptions for degrees in architecture, music, fine arts and landscape architecture.

Trustee Bernadette Cheyne was the only member of the committee on education policy who voted against the proposed changes to Title 5 when the issue was discussed in committee.

Before the entire Board put it to vote, Cheyne proposed an amendment to the proposal that would require the chancellor to meet with faculty and program directors before deciding if a degree could be more than 120 units, and the amendment was approved.

White said that he has enormous respect for faculty and shared governance.

“Nothing about this measure diminishes faculty’s role in establishing curriculum,” White said.

According to Christine Mallon, assistant vice chancellor for the CSU, 18 percent of all CSU programs require more than 120 units, and 20 percent of all CSU undergraduate students are enrolled in these higher unit programs. Mallon said reducing the unit requirement increases access and reduces student cost.

“It is estimated that 5,000 to 6,000 eligible applicants to the CSU have been denied this year because of the resources used on high unit programs,” she said.

According to Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander, Pell Grants have changed from covering students for 18 semesters to 12, putting an additional financial burden on students with high-unit degree requirements who have to stay in school longer.

“There’s a common sense variable in all this,” Alexander said. “I think our students are just as talented as any in America, so why should we insist on our students staying in school longer when their peers are getting out faster and into the job force?”

Alexander said 500 to 600 more students could be accepted at CSULB if majors were reduced to 120 units.