Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) today announced that he has introduced a package of legislation focused on reducing costs for college students and preventing online bullying on school campuses.
“The cost of obtaining a college degree has skyrocketed and our students are paying more than ever before. We must take action to reduce costs,” said Harper. “We must also ensure that every form of online bullying has a consequence to guarantee the safety of our children.”
Among the bills being proposed today are Assembly Bill 2210, which would establish a two-thirds threshold by the student body for the implementation of any new “student success fees” at California State Universities. Traditionally, these fees are designated to help increase funding for hiring faculty, adding course sections, and technology upgrades. Yet, some campuses have used these fees to fund educational needs traditionally supported by tuition and state appropriation.
“Tacking on student success fees creates more debt for our students, who already pay high tuition and other fees,” said Harper. “This change will make sure that these fees are imposed fairly and only when a vast majority of the students believe it is needed.”
In an effort to help keep costs low for students, Harper also introduced Assembly Bill 2214. This bill would require professors to report any royalties made from a textbook online through the school’s website. It goes hand-in-hand with the Textbook Royalty Declaration Act, which Harper is coauthoring with Assemblyman Travis Allen, which would require Professors to disclose textbook royalties to the Fair Political Practices Commission.
“Professors should not be allowed to cash in on students, especially when their students are already paying high costs for textbooks,” said Harper. “This will promote transparency and keep professor ‘kickbacks’ to a minimum.”
“Textbook royalties are being paid on the backs of our hardworking students. With the average cost of textbooks for undergraduate students at $1,298 per semester, it is important that our state fights to keep costs for California students as low as possible,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen. “The Textbook Royalty Declaration Act will ensure full transparency regarding educational expenses and guarantee access to the lowest textbook prices available.”
Another bill, Assembly Bill 2212, would allow the superintendent or principal of a secondary school to recommend suspension or expulsion if a student posts an image or video of a fight between students on the internet. This form of cyberbullying has not yet been added to the Education Code, and has no consequence.
“This bill is necessary to address the increasing number of students posting harassing videos online. Posting videos of a fight can lead to embarrassment and harassment, which is considered bullying,” said Harper. “This will take us one step further in creating a safe learning environment for our children.”
Assemblyman Matthew Harper represents the 74th Assembly District; he is the former Mayor of the City of Huntington Beach. The 74th Assembly District includes the cities of Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods and Laguna Beach.