USG supports eight of 10 proposed fee hikes

By Gus Bode

Undergraduate Student Government passed eight of the 10 student fee increase proposals during a three-hour meeting Wednesday in the Student Health Center.

Increases passed by the resolution could amount to an extra $107 on students’ bills next year. If the Board of Trustees approves all 10 proposed increases, students would face fee increases of $131.

The student medical benefit primary and extended care fees received the most support, as more than 20 senators voted to pass each fee. The primary care fee is proposed to increase $30 to $211 while the extended care fee is expected to increase $41 to $284.

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Dana Agusto, a senator representing College of Education and Human Services, served on the health care committee and said she was glad the senators supported the increase.

‘I think health is very important to people and the ability to come to the Health Center is cheaper,’ Agusto said. ‘People value these facilities and these options offered here.’

USG Vice President Vincent Hardy said he was glad to see more fees pass this year because it showed people were thinking through their decisions. Last year the senate only passed the Student Medical Benefit Primary Care, Student Center, Student Recreation and Mass Transit fees.

The two fees that did not pass Wednesday were the Student Center fee and the athletics operations fee. The Student Center fee was proposed to increase $11 while the athletics operations fee was expected to increase $13.

Dave Loftus, a senator representing the south side of campus, said he did not agree with the athletics operations fee because the university is losing its priorities.

‘We continue to focus on athletics and lose sight of academics,’ Loftus said. ‘We have to worry about paying for textbooks and classes.’

The other fees that passed included the student recreation, campus recreation, mass transit, student attorney, student services facility, and facilities maintenance fees. The proposed increases will cost students roughly $107.

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Before voting started, former student trustee Ed Ford congratulated the senate on its hard work in light of the results of a recent DAILY EGYPTIAN survey. The survey showed out of 100 random students, 21 had been directly contacted by a senator and 48 knew of the organization’s work.

‘I guarantee you nowhere near 20 percent of people in Carbondale have been directly contacted by members of the City Council,’ Ford said. ‘And half of the people that know about student government know about it because you are out there interacting with them.’

Senators passed three resolutions based on feedback from their constituents, including suggestions for the university to improve safety and a resolution stating that Greek Row residents did not want to pay for high-speed Internet.’ The resolutions were the first since August that did not concern internal USG matters, such as the organization’s dress code.

‘ Jennifer Arteaga, a senator representing the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, presented a resolution to bolster security at University Park after hearing multiple complaints and experiencing problems of her own as a Resident Assistant.

In one instance, she said a 16-year-old runaway from Murphysboro had managed to live on the premises for a week before getting noticed.

‘There are a lot of safety issues that happen throughout the Triads and it is hard to prevent when you can’t see what’s going on,’ Arteaga said. ‘We are students too, so we can’t always be there and be monitoring.’

Student Trustee Demetrous White said the Board of Trustees was notified of the problem and the university was taking steps to improve security in the area.

The other resolutions included voting down fee increases to Greek Row Housing for high-speed Internet and adjusting the student fee for Saluki Way to reflect half of the $70 million raised instead of the projected $83 million.

Jeff Engelhardt can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 268 or [email protected]

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