Student Senate breaks down fees

Explanation comes amid discussions and debate surrounding the purchase of a $3,785 panther statue

Analicia Haynes, Managing Editor

The Student Senate announced a new price for a potential panther statue and broke down how it will be paid for at its Wednesday meeting.

The statue will now cost $3,785 and be built by a different vendor outside of Illinois, as opposed to the original plan of being built in-state and costing $5,950.

Executive Vice President Derek Pierce said the price drop was a result of a new vendor, Large Art Company, reducing the cost of the same statue proposed in last week’s bill.

Pierce said since there have been concerns about how the statue will be paid for, he would outline student fees and explained what the cost would be per student.

According to Eastern’s website, each full-time undergraduate student pays $151.92 per semester for an activity fee. This fee is what helps fund organizations such as the student government.Full-time fees are based on 12 hours of enrollment.

For the full academic year, that is a total of $303.84 just for the activity fee alone.

Currently, there are eight separate fees that full-time undergraduate students pay per semester.Those include legal services fee ($5.45); athletic fee ($156.00); computer network fee ($48.00); Grant-in-Aid fee ($189.12); Health Service and Pharmacy fee ($121.20); Union/Bond revenue fee ($309.720); a health/accident insurance fee ($109.95); textbook rental fee ($9.75 per credit hour) and the campus involvement fee ($14.75 per credit hour).

Given the current fees per year per undergraduate, full-time students taking 15 credit hours pay $1,458.86 per semester and $2,917.72 per year.

Pierce said for every $100 paid to the student activities fee that is 32 cents for the cost of the statue per full-time undergraduate student taking 15 credit hours. For every $100 paid student fees overall, that is three cents for the cost of the statue per student.

Pierce and Zac Cohen, the student vice president of student affairs, said the reason they decided to spend their funds on a panther statue was because they were looking at how they can use student fees to benefit every student, not just a select few by setting up a scholarship, for instance.

However, several senators were still in disagreement with the statue.

Student Senator Patrick Delgado said his concern for the statue is that the Senate is doing it for school spirit, something the university does not seem to have. 

“I think if a statue is required to build school spirit, I think we need to work on something else. I think school spirit is only going to be brought up if it’s there in the first place,” Delgado said. 

Delgado also said the castle has been a “picture spot” for years and does not see a need for a change. 

Antonio Valdez called the statue a “frivolous purchase” and said given the budget impasse that ended last year, the decision is driven by pride and is not wise.

“I’m just saying that there could be some backlash from students,” Valdez said.

Student Body President Luke Young said the money the student government receives in its budget is restricted, meaning that they cannot spend it outside their given ledger. Funds are budgeted to different entities on campus, such as the residence halls and housing and dining or service organizations based on where those entities are classified.Each entity on campus is classified into different ledgers and are appropriated different funds based on which ledger they fall under.

There are nine total ledgers in Eastern’s budget development process.

According to Eastern’s website, ledger one is comprised of organizations which are funded with state-appropriated dollars and income funds or tuition dollars. These funds are grouped into the general revenue fund that the university uses to fund its “academic mission,” according to the site.

The student government falls under ledger two, which is comprised of self-supporting organizations funded with student fees.Young described each ledger to the Senate and said the thing to remember is that the student government cannot take the money it was allocated and spend it in a different ledger.

“It is not that we just don’t want to, it is just against the rules,” Young said. “I know there is a lot of conversation sometimes about ‘Well, why doesn’t student government just use some of their money on this and that,’ well, if it’s not a ledger to the fund then we can’t.”

After hearing concerns from senate members and students on campus, the Student Senate motioned to table the bill and take a vote at the Feb. 14 meeting.

Pierce said this gives the Senate an opportunity to reach out to more students and update them on the statue and the cost.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a lot of people up to speed and hopefully potentially vote on the bill the following week,” Pierce said.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]