Opinion March 7 2013

Dear Editor,

The Graduate and Professional Student Council is asked each year to vote on proposed fee increases that all enrolled SIU students are required to pay. We take this opportunity to clarify and explain the votes we recorded for next year’s (FY14) increases.

Graduate and professional students often have different priorities than undergraduates. We tend to value improvements to teaching and research infrastructure, IT systems, and insurance more than athletics and programming. However, that does not mean that we are not aware of our role as university citizens and automatically reject


fees that do not directly benefit us. We voted on the proposed fee increases in

the following ways:

The Facilities Maintenance Fee and the Information Technology Fee – GPSC voted 18-5-1 and 17-4-2 respectively to support

these fee increases. We value the facilities we work and teach in, and we hope that these fees will indeed be used to help upgrade labs, classrooms and the IT infrastructure.

The Athletics Fee – GPSC overwhelmingly voted 3-18-3 against supporting this fee increase.

During his presentation to us, Athletic Director Mario Moccia said this fee was necessary to keep staffing levels the same due to lowered revenue. This argument did not satisfy us, and our vote reflects that.

The Student Activity Fee – This fee funds GPSC, Undergraduate Student Government and additional office support. The proposed fee increase would be used exclusively by Student Programming Council, which is now funded directly by USG.

GPSC voted 3-17-4 against approving this fee for several reasons. GPSC would welcome it if the $120,000 currently given to SPC by USG was freed up since USG

could then use those funds to support more RSOs and academic events.

This is in line with GPSC’s mission to support education, research and employment opportunities. However, during our meeting with SPC director Don Castle, he was unwilling to guarantee that, SPC would not continue to seek funding from USG in the future.

This is troublesome. In a time when other fee groups are requesting 2-5% increases, SPC is asking for a 200% increase with the option to continue to take money from USG.

We are sympathetic to the idea that increased programming would enrich the university, but we were not presented with data to support this.

Instead, we were given the weak argument that “other universities charge more.” This was not satisfactory.

The Student Insurance Fee – This was perhaps the most troubling 4-11-9 vote we came to.

All graduate students value the insurance provided by the university. However, we have been told continually that the university would explore other options (ACA-compliant, Spouse and Dependent Coverage) yet we have not seen these.

We are not asking for the university to provide these options at this point. Rather, we would like to see them explored. The vote reflects the GPSC’s frustration.

We were unwilling to support a measure if it meant that the status quo would stand.


The officers of Graduate and Professional Student Council

President Blaine Tisdale Vice President Brooke Talley Vice President Peter Lucas