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NORTHRIDGE : CSUN President Backs Fee Increase

May 05, 1993|KURT PITZER

In an early public relations pitch, newly inaugurated Cal State Northridge President Blenda J. Wilson told about 50 local Rotary Club members Tuesday that proposed fee increases could help solve the school system's fiscal problems without excluding needy students.

Fee increases "are only possible ethically if we are able to also conduct an aggressive financial aid policy," said Wilson, who plans to travel to Sacramento next week to lobby for the CSU fee-hike package.

Wilson, inaugurated Friday as the first African-American woman to head a major U. S. university, said many local residents have a "knee-jerk" reaction against fee hikes that could help solve the school system's fiscal problems.

The California State University's Board of Trustees has proposed phasing in fee increases so that students who can afford it eventually pay one-third of their tuition. At a Northridge/Chatsworth Rotary Club luncheon, Wilson also said she hopes to forge stronger bonds between the university, local schools and the community.

"You have a great stake in the well-being of the university . . ., " she told the assembled Rotarians. "Hopefully, we can work together to make sure that the younger, more vulnerable members of society have the skills necessary to go to college."

Wilson, who made two public speeches Monday and has several more scheduled this week, said currying public favor is a crucial early task for a university president.

"It's important for us to go out and hear people's views and concerns," she said. "We want to get the word out that we belong to the community. We will be working together for a long time."

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