UCSD Introduces ‘Pay-to-Sit’ Classes

Written by: Pilan Scruggs

Students wanted to do a sit-in to protest this policy, but it would’ve been too expensive.
Photo by: Stephen Lightfoot

In efforts to accommodate another record-breaking year of incoming students, UCSD administrators have announced what many believe to be a controversial plan: Pay-to-Sit lecture sections.

“After calculating statistics on class sizes, waitlist enrollment, and similar things, we realized that we had a major problem brewing,” admitted Natalie Jameson, a representative from the Office of the Registrar. “We called an emergency meeting, bounced ideas off each other while waiting for our Einstein Bros. catering to arrive, and this is what we got. Oh, and everyone got nice, warm bagels for participating.”

The data revealed that only 4.7 percent of undergraduates who waitlisted in their respective classes for the current term successfully enrolled by the add deadline. Even with some professors expanding their class sizes to admit more students, Jameson described the statistic as “shockingly low.”

“The university exists to serve the students, but if this many kids cannot enroll, then we’re not fulfilling our promise, are we?” she reported. “And seeing as we’ve already maximized lecture hall capacities by shrinking the desks, this seemed like the most feasible option.”

While the fine details of the plan have yet to be revealed, the administration has published a rough outline. Pay-to-Sit will ultimately affect every room on campus, but next quarter it will only impact the largest rooms. When enrolling for a class on WebReg, students will be alerted and subsequently asked whether or not they would like to pay an additional fee to reserve a seat for the quarter if they attempt to enroll in an impacted room. Any student who does so then must swipe their campus ID card to access their seat at the start of every class. Those who do not wish to pay will either have to sit on the stairs or stand in the walkways.

“I like it,” said Dean Cameron of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. “While it won’t affect my 30-student-courses for a while, it sounds like a practical way to maximize the number of students per professor. I’ve also heard rumors from other faculty members about phasing out iClickers in favor of these seats for taking attendance.”

Adding to Cameron’s point, Jameson shared that she has already received proposals from colleagues to incentivize paying for seats.

“For now, we’re just trying to get our initial plan out the door, but ultimately we hope to build a model similar to airline classes. One person suggested that we make seats with more legroom, or larger desks, more expensive. Somebody else thought that maybe a student who pays an additional fee on top of the seat fee could request a snack or drink upon arrival. We’ve already contacted HDH, Starbucks, Tapioca Express, and other companies to discuss this possibility.”

However, when asked about the price, Jameson immediately grew tight-lipped and claimed that she could not disclose any further information.

“I can tell you that it’s extremely tricky to set-up. Everyone has different seat preferences, and we’ll do our best to remember that when finalizing the prices. Students should expect a survey within two weeks to help us determine which seats should be worth more — front, back, aisle, middle, and so on.”

As for the hazards that could arise from more students standing in the back rather than sitting in the chairs, Jameson waved them away and assured that “we know what we’re doing, trust us.”

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