Why is Student Senate moving so fast with trying to approve a $150 per semester fee for all full-time students at each campus? That fee’s purpose being to pay back agency bonds that will go towards renovations for the Powell Building and the creation of a new, larger Fitness and Wellness Center.
The vote is scheduled for March 3, almost eight weeks before a Board of Regents meeting where they would get to vote on the fee should it pass the Student Senate. And even then, it still has to be approved by the Council on Postsecondary Education in its meeting June 11 and 12. But the process does not stop there and actually continues into July 2016 before the university even sees a dime of money from the state’s financing.
Part of the reason this is being done quickly is because of the SGA Elections coming up in three weeks. SGA officials said they didn’t want the fee to be a deciding factor in the next presidency and vice presidential positions. There is no reason for an official governing body of the university to push something through that creates an uninformed constituency, and no reason they should be scared of any potential debate that can from discussion during elections.
It even seems that aside from discussion in Senate, this measure is trying to fly under the radar because there has been little to no information published for students about this directly from SGA and few conversations across campus aside from rumors of what is going on with this plan.
Last spring, President Benson announced plans for a $50 athletics fee and a $50 “campus improvement” fee, and, after discussions with the CPE President, relented and decided the campus improvement fee would be an issue for Student Senate to vote on behalf of students, before plans were scrapped and this Center for Student Life fee was created.
This fee would result in full-time students paying $300 per year, that’s $1,200 dollars during a four-year education at Eastern, and that is something that cannot be taken lightly and requires more discussion from the student body than a few Student Senate meetings and a lone, poorly-attended forum.