Carver proposes 45-percent raise in student fees

by Kelli Herzberg

The proposed $100 increase in student fees was suggested by President Byrd, student-body president Dan Carver and student-body vice president Kaela Phillips after a meeting last summer to brainstorm ways to generate funds for the new student center.

In a letter to the editor published in the Oct. 5 edition of The Simpsonian, Carver said the current $218 fee would rise to $318 for the next 20 years, with $3 million being the ultimate goal.

Phillips said, if passed, the fee increase would take effect in the fall of 2006. The extra money would be put aside for a new student center.

The three considered raising money for the new student center strictly through donations; however, they decided to go ahead with the suggestion to increase student fees.

Phillips said if students support the project, others are more likely to support it too.

“It will be easier to talk to other beneficiaries if we can show the students want this,” Phillips said.

Carver said the college will still rely heavily on donations to fund the student center’s construction.

“Three million won’t pay for the new student center,” Carver said in an e-mail. “The rest has to come from donations, which a lot of people are working on. This money will be a significant chunk of the roughly [$]20 million needed, and it will show potential donors that we are willing to put up the money and so should they.”

Everyone involved in the creation of this plan seem optimistic that students will be supportive, including Student Government Association’s advisor, Rich Ramos.

“Based upon feedback from student government, I feel the students will react in a positive way,” Ramos said. “Students can see the serious need for the new building.”

This plan, like any projected idea has both advantages and disadvantages. However, Carver said the pros outweigh the cons.

“The benefits [of the plan] are that it will help fund raise because people who donate will know that the students are already on board with the program,” Carver said “Also it will speed up the process of building the new student center. The disadvantages are that students will be paying more, but it will be well worth the price.”

Ramos said there weren’t many negative aspects.

“I don’t see a whole lot of disadvantages to this plan,” Ramos said. “I think it’s a good way for students to get interest, value and input of a building for them. It isn’t usual for colleges to uses student fees to cover student buildings such as a student center or a rec center.”

Phillips said upping the student fee to cover a new student center is a good idea and that students should care enough to support the change.

“Students should care because every other building on campus was built by somebody else,” Phillips said. “We have the privilege of using them. This is one way for students to give back. I understand this is a tough concept though.”

Ramos knows the new student center will not be built in time for many of the current students, but remains optimistic.

“There’s still a chance it could be here for [the current freshmen],” Ramos said.

Carver’s next step is to hold town-hall meetings to get student input. After that, he will decide whether or not to propose the increase to SGA. If approved, SGA would present the recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will make the final decision, but Carver wants students to know they still hold influence and power over whether or not this gets passed.

“SGA has no direct power over the Board, nor should they,” Carver said. “But the Board does listen to SGA because we’re the voice of the students.”