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Votes

Student fees to drop by 25 cents

A graph of new fee recommendations for the 2015-2016 school year. The Student Fee Review Committee completed voting on fees Tuesday. The President’s Council will now look at the recommendations and make their own.

A graph of new fee recommendations for the 2015-2016 school year. The Student Fee Review Committee completed voting on fees Tuesday. The President’s Council will now look at the recommendations and make their own. Photo by Nataly Burdick.

The Student Fee Review Committee finalized voting Tuesday to send recommendations to the President’s Council for student fees for the upcoming fiscal year.

Overall, student fees will be 25 cents lower from the $361 of fees this year.

All fees were up for review this year, and the committee approved or denied all requests for increased or new fees.

Denied fee increases:

Music department: increase of $2.50

Community engagement: increase of $3.50

Global engagement: new fee of $2

Speech and presentation center: new fee of $2

Of the requested fee increases, only the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Services’ Civil Engagement fee of $1 was approved.

The only fee the board decreased was the Sharwan Smith Student Center activity fee, which was formerly a fee of $7.50 and was reduced to $6.25, a drop of $1.25.

The committee made many recommendations for better ways to spend the money the organizations are currently receiving. It gave recommendations to groups that were denied new or increased fees, as well, detailing the reasons behind the denials so groups could amend their requests in the future.

A main point the committee looked at when contemplating the fees this year was proper usage of the fees awarded. Committee members discussed that it was important to remember that student fees are not meant to cover building repair and maintenance costs, especially when most buildings on campus are state-owned and should be maintained with state funds.

The committee also discussed that student fees are not meant to be for large one-time expenses.

The committee members formed a task force including members of the Student Fee Review Committee and the Student Senate to review what items and expenditures are and are not part of what student fees should cover.

They also changed a policy, to clarify what fee increases would have to go to a student vote, or referendum, so voting on those fees would have to be open to the entire student body, and the committee would have to make a recommendation based on the majority vote from the students. The committee members decided that any new fee or fee increase of $10 or more would have to go to referendum.

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Following is a break down of the final decisions on each fee:

The building fee of $161 was passed by consensus, with no recommendations. The building fee covers furniture and other non-essential costs for student benefit.

The campus recreation fee of $5 was maintained, with the suggestion that better methods of tracking how many people use the services provided by the fee. The fee covers most of the costs of intramural games on campus, as well as giving students free use of most of the J.L. Sorenson Physical Education Building, except for the fitness center.

The computer fee of $32 was passed with consensus and with no recommendations. The fee covers open labs, printing, IT help and wireless internet.

The counseling fee of $4 was maintained, with the recommendation that the Counseling and Psychological Services office try to find more funds to hire another full-time staff member, since the wait for students to see a CAPS counselor is about 8 weeks currently. The fee covers the costs of counseling sessions at CAPS for students.

The Student I.D. fee of $1.50 was passed by consensus. The fee covers the costs of making I.D. cards for students and paying the student technicians who create the cards. While no suggestions were made, the committee discussed the possibility of using Student I.D. funds to pay for card readers to better track attendance at school-hosted events.

The SUUSA fee of $24.50 was maintained with no recommendations. The fee covers the cost of SUUSA events, as well as providing money for clubs and support for the president's cabinet and academic senate expenses.

The new fee request for the Global Engagement Center of $1 was denied. The committee recommended the center to use other avenues of funding for their activities, since many of the activities the center hosts could fit under other student fees.

The $3 Theatre arts and dance fee was maintained with consensus with the recommendations that the department track student attendance at plays and dance recitals better and provide a spouse pass. The fee covers free attendance for students to theatre arts and dance events.

The Community Engagement Center's request to increase their fee from $3.50 to $6 was denied. The committee suggested the Center revise how they use their current funding in order to provide more service for students, and lower the cost of Bread and Soup Nite.

The Sharwan Smith Student Center activity fee was dropped from $7.50 to $6.25, after the committee considered the large budget surplus the fee has had in past years. The committee recommended the fee be used to help pay for more activities that take place in the student center and to help pay for the cheer team's expenses.

The new Civic Engagement fee of $1 requested by the Leavitt Center was passed by consensus, with the understanding that the fee will go to provide more internships for students in more various disciplines and to provide meetings for students that will inform them about how their tuition, student fees and course fees are used.

The outdoor recreation fee of $8 was maintained, with the caveat that the fee will be under review next year. The fee covers the costs of trips hosted by SUU Outdoors, makes rentals cheaper for students and with the $3 increase that was approved last year, now includes keeping the rock wall in the P.E. building free for students.

The $1.50 increase to the $2.50 music fee was denied but the current fee was maintained. The committee recommended the music department provide better numbers about attendance if they request an increase again, and recommended the department look to other avenues of funding for items that shouldn't be paid by student fees, such as building repairs or improvements. The music fee keeps concerts hosted by the university free for students.

The athletics fee of $102 was maintained with no recommendations. While one motion was made to decrease the fee by $10, it was quickly taken off the table and the motion to maintain passed with consensus. The athletic fee covers costs of entry to sporting events for students and travel costs for SUU's teams.

The University Journal fee of $6 was maintained by a nine to one vote and the recommendation that the Journal make efforts to move online more, including putting up QR codes on the physical paper stands and check the cost effectiveness of reducing the amount of pages that are in color.

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