Recently, the administration rejected a request from the Students’ Association for an increase of $25 in the student activities fee. The request has been rejected because it is believed that at the current time the SA isn’t responsible enough to deserve a larger budget.

From what I’ve seen in four years here, I find it appalling that this school’s administration feels the SA doesn’t deserve an increase. In the course of my college career, I’ve seen the SA add at least six new funded groups, including Debate and the Undergraduate Research Council.

In addition, established groups have been growing and adding a variety of new activities. Some groups you may not have thought would fall under the category of a “student activity” only turned to the SA for funding after being turned down by the Dean of The College.

One example that comes to mind is the Medical Emergency Response Team – a well-established group that does a great number of services for the student body. Two years ago the group came up for SA recognition and funding because the administration could not find the funds needed to provide the group with a defibrillator. That’s right, the defibrillator – a lifesaving device used by a primary response team on campus – is paid for with your student activity dollars. You may not have been aware that your life falls under the category of a “student activity.”

But despite having to expand your $175 student activities fee to cover what the college refuses to, we apparently aren’t ready for an increase of $25. This is coming from the same people who have raised student tuition dollars over $3,700 in four years. All this new funding the college has received over the past years should make you question where it went.

Did it go to any major classroom or dorm renovations? Was it to pay for any addition of classes, or professors or perhaps a few new departments and majors? The reason I’m asking these questions is because the only improvements I’ve seen were the renovation of the athletic building, which came from an alumni donator – not the college – and the project for the beautification of Wilson Boulevard through the removal of parking spaces, which also came from a separate donation.

In fact, I don’t know, nor have I ever heard, a good explanation of why tuition has had to go up any more than the rate of inflation. Come to think of it, in four years the major changes I have seen in the college are the development of a printing system which ended up costing students 8 cents per copy more than they paid in years past and a national ranking that has fallen to a lower mark than where it stood before four years of tuition hikes.

One has to wonder if anybody or anything, other than the university’s endowment, is gaining from tuition increases. At the rate the college is going, I’m sure most would agree that we’re getting a lot less for a lot more money, and I’ve heard no good explanation for this, to date.

Let me give you an explanation of something that is going on right now within your student government. Without this long overdue increase in the SA budget to cover new groups, new programs and new defibrillators, the SA is instead going through budget cuts for everybody.

There will be no increases for any group, not even to cover inflation. There will be no new programs. If there are new groups, there will be no money for them.

Regardless of the way you may feel student government has behaved in the past two months, it’s not the student government that is being punished here by the administration’s denial – it’s the student body. This is in the face of an SA that has done more with zero increases in four years than the college has done with over $3,700 in increases during that same time.

Maybe if the administration is so much more judicious than the SA in allotting funds, then it should just take over the entire SA. Then at least groups would be eligible for a 6 percent increase every year. However, just beware that when MERT comes to defibrillate you, only your first few are free – after that there will be an 8 cent charge.

Simmons is a senior and can be reached at simmons@campustimes.org.



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