Student Senate votes no to increase student fees

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

The Student Senate voted to not approve the proposed student fee increase in Wednesday’s meeting.

The student senators voted 11-to-5 against the fee increase. The proposed increase would have been an overall increased of $6.30, with athletics receiving the biggest increase with $5.36.

Senator Chris Pickard tried to motion striking out the athletic fee entirely from the proposed student fees.

He said his motion was so the entire student body can benefit from the fee increases, not just student athletes.

“There are significant increases to the athletic budget, and minimal increases to other budgets,” Pickard said. “In my opinion, this is not at all a wise way to spend the student fees as it only serves a minority of the student body.”

Other senators did not agree with striking the athletic fee from the proposed student fee increase; the proposed motion was voted against 11-to-1, with four of the senators abstaining from voting.

Dan Nadler, the vice president for student affairs, was in attendance for the meeting, and during the discussion among the senators, explained how the proposed increases originated.

“Basically, all of these areas here, what we did was a thorough analysis to see what they might need to get them back on the road to recovery,” Nadler said. “Athletics was not the only area on this list that deficits, so we’ve been trying to help as many as many of the organizations as possible without hitting all of the organizations at the same time.”

Nadler also said some of the items on the list received an adjustment last year, even though there was no bottom-line increase in the overall fee amount.

“There was some readjustments in their fee for this year, and that was taken into account as well,” Nadler said. “For example, student activity this year went up compared to last year, that was part of the readjustment.”

Nadler said it was rare to get an adjustment or more money, and some of the other groups struggled as well.

“Some of the groups continue to struggle, and we’ve tried to help as many as possible without making it a real burden financially,” Nadler said.

Melanie Kaderabek, the vice chairwoman for University Board, said she is in support of Eastern’s athletics, but her issue was with the development of the student fee increase.

“While a student fee increase does sound like a good idea, the development of it, I just think, was questionable, and not done correctly,” Kaderaback said. “If 85 percent of the $6.30 student fee increase is going to student athletics, that’s great but what is University Board potentially getting out of the $0.48 that are appointed to student fees. That goes to Apportionment Board, student government, the recreation center, and University Board, $0.12 per student per credit hour.”

Grant Sterling, chairman of Faculty Senate, said why the Faculty Senate opposed the student fee increase.

“The Faculty Senate recognizes that this is a Student Senate vote,” Sterling said. “We had some concerns both about the content of the proposal and the why the proposal was presented.”

Sterling also said it was because of this reason that the faculty senators chose to opposed the fee increase.

Election results for the next academic year were officially announced during the senate meeting as well. Shireem Ahmad was announced as the next student body president; Catie Witt as executive vice president; Courtney Sage as the vice president for students affairs; and Stephen Simpson as the vice president for academic affairs.

Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].