The SF Civil Rights Lawyer’s Committee has challenged Sonoma States University’s election April 11-13. 2011 for student fee increases of $300 per year as having “serious voting irregularities.” As a witness to the election process it was clear that that University administration took full advantage of mass e-mailings, misinformation, paid employee time, and thousands of dollars to persuade the dorm students to vote yes on the fee increase. All of these efforts were a clear violation of the University’s responsibility to hold an “open fair and objective process” as mandated by CSU policy. Every receipt on campus for coffee and sales had a Vote Yes message. Paid SSU student employees were required to attend a mandatory meetings pitching a yes vote on the fee increase.
Two thirds of the students didn’t vote in the electronic on-line election, many never received a voter message. Students polled before the election were 80% opposed to fee increases. The fee increase will tax two generations of students $64 million dollars to build a student center that could have been paid for from regular University funds.