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Needs Improvement

Sonoma State University is awash in high student fees and low faculty salaries, according to a report released on Oct. 25 by former SSU social science dean Robert Karlsrud and associates. According to the report, in 2010–'11 SSU student fees ranked fourth highest in the California State University system, with students at the Rohnert Park campus paying 35 percent more in mandatory campus fees than the CSU average. Professors at SSU aren't faring much better. Though Humboldt State University holds the dubious honor of lowest professors' salaries, a full professor at SSU receives 5 percent less than the average for the statewide university system. In addition, SSU has twice the number of managerial positions of similar-sized campuses, while tenure-line faculty declined in the last year by 17. With a grade of D by the report and a focus on "debt and development" rather than "teaching and learning," the report urges SSU to take a hard look at the distribution of its resources.

Reform and Reduce

On Nov. 8, state officials approved the public circulation of a petition for an initiative to reduce California marijuana penalties. The "Reduced Marijuana Penalties" initiative would reduce punishment for possession, cultivation, sale or transportation of up to two ounces of marijuana to a $250 fine or community service. At the same time, punishment for those under 21 would be limited. Other penalties already in place would remain—including those involving marijuana on school grounds or selling to minors. Bill Zimmerman, the political campaign manager and media consultant behind the measure, must collect signatures from over 500,000 registered voters by April 5, 2012, in order to qualify for the ballot. For more information, call 310.451.2522.


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