USG split on fee increases

By Gus Bode

Heated debate and an unusual number of student participants filled the Undergraduate Student Government meeting Wednesday, with most of the discussion surrounding a $25 fee increase.

The organization voiced its opinion on proposed student fee increases totaling $100.60. That figure does not include proposed increases to housing fees, which are only paid by students who live in those facilities.

Students and administrators filled nearly every seat in the Student Health Center auditorium for the vote.


The most controversial topic was the $25.60 proposed Campus Recreation fee increase, which would increase the fee from $6 to $31.60. Willie Ehling, director of recreational sports and services, has said the increase would pay to keep facilities that would be lost to relocation during Saluki Way, as well as add new elements such as restrooms, adaptive fitness trails and a band shelter.

After listening to an hour of public comments from students, senators voted against the measure.

“Your tuition is locked. Your fees are not,” said USG President Demetrous White, addressing the senators before the vote. “What do we say to those students who are sitting in their 12th grade classes getting excited about college because they want to be somebody, but won’t be able to afford it?”

The organization split the $54 Intercollegiate Athletic fee into two parts. Mario Moccia, director of athletics, has said that $10 of the fee would cover operating costs, while the remaining $44 would be designated for Saluki Way. Senators voted against both amounts, which would increase the $221 fee to $275.

Jordan Wicks, a sophomore from Ancona studying animal science, was one of 12 students who spoke during an hour of public comments.

Wicks, a member of the women’s rugby team, said she wanted the organization to vote in favor of the Campus Recreation fee. She said the three unlighted fields used by the rugby teams are among facilities scheduled to be lost to relocation during Saluki Way.

“College is more than education in a classroom,” Wicks said. “It’s an education any way you want to get it.”


Dylan Burns, a senator representing the College of Liberal Arts, said he thought money to replace the fields should not come from students.

“I just bought a Playstation 2. If you came into my room and broke it, I would say … you shouldn’t have done that, you need to give me $400,” Burn said. “Shouldn’t athletics, since they are displacing these fields, pay to rebuild them?”

Brandon Williams, a senior from Peoria studying journalism, also spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Williams said he represented students, who would feel negative influences of fee increases on their educations.

“As a university, we should work with what we have,” Williams said. “You’ve got a car, right? Are you going to fix the car, or are you going to fix the wheels?”

Student fees supported by the organization include Student Medical Benefit Primary Care, Student Center, Student Recreation and Mass Transit.

Additionally, senators voted against two proposed fee increases for university housing.

Rent per month at Evergreen Terrace housing, which accommodates married and domestic partner students, as well as students with children, would rise from $493 to $533. Annual housing fees for other on-campus residences would increase from $6,636 to $7,164.

The organization declined to vote on a proposed $39 increase to rent for Elizabeth Apartments, since the apartments are only open to graduate students.

White said he would not veto the fees passed by the senate.

“For the most part, those fees are for staff and maintenance,” White said. “I can understand why they passed those and I will sign them.”

The Board of Trustees must vote to affirm fee increases before they become effective. Fee increases are scheduled to appear before the board in April.

The board will vote on the increases in June.

Allison Petty can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 259 or [email protected].