SGA votes to raise Student Life and Campus Rec fees
The Slippery Rock Student Government Association voted to support the raise of three different fees Monday night.
The fees, which will be officially approved or denied by the Council of Trustees the first week in March, will impact the entire student body.
The fees that SGA chose to support include the Student Life Enhancement fee, the Campus Recreation fee, and an increased housing fee in North Hall, Rhoads Hall and the Rock Apartments.
Dr. Constance Foley, Vice President of Student Life, said there was a need for the rise in cost not only to keep up with the other residence halls, but also to go towards the broadband project to improve Internet in the dorms.
The letter SGA plans to send to the Council of Trustees will be in support of a two percent increase, in confidence the broadband project will be further pursued.
“The increase will only amount to about $34 per student, per semester living in the average double,” Foley said. “Buildings A through F automatically go up two percent every year, so the increase in fees will only be to match other residence halls.”
Anthony Plumberg, Commuter Senator, said the fees are a price students are willing to pay.
“Students are not excited about any increase in fees,” Plumberg said. “But they are willing to accept and pay these fees if it means better Internet.”
Foley controls the Student Life Enhancement fee, and is hoping to allow extra in the fund to go towards athletics in upcoming school years.
SGA is supporting this fee with the stipulation that a cap of five percent is set on any athletic spending that may occur from the fee’s account.
According to Foley, students are charged five dollars for every credit hour they take for the fee, amounting to about $75 a semester for the average 15 credit hours.
“This year [the fee] brought in $1 million,” Foley said. “About $800,000 goes to support salaries.”
Foley said with the $200,000 left over she is able to help certain areas on campus that don’t have as large of a budget.
“Last year the extra funds went towards purchasing a new van for the Health Center and a police car,” Foley said. “This year some is going towards a new computer system for the campus police.”
While The Board of Cooperative Activities does cover some funds for athletics, Foley said that it can’t cover all of their necessary costs. The funds would not be provided yearly, but instead on an as-needed basis.
“I want to be able to help athletics out, just like other organizations,” Foley said.
The third fee SGA is in support of is the one that goes specifically to Campus Recreation, including the Aebersold Recreation Center.
Greg Sferra, Director of Campus Recreation, said the fee for the Campus Recreation, which includes care for the ARC, the MAC, the Ski Lodge and Campgrounds, has not been raised since 2002.
Sferra said that there are twice as many participants in club sports as there are athletes, which are all run through the ARC.
“We currently have the largest facility out of the fourteen state schools, and yet pay second to least amount of money in fees,” Sferra said. “The current fee is $87, and only IUP has a lesser fee at $67.”
According to Sferra, by raising the fee $23 per student, per semester, the ARC will be able to hire back a seventh full-time employee, as well as be able to better maintain and update equipment.
A fourth fee that was proposed to SGA Monday evening was denied their support.
The parking fee, which is currently at $25 a year for SRU students, was proposed to rise to $50 per year.
According to Foley, the Parking Department needs to make more revenue to stay afloat.
“Their revenue comes from parking stickers, while their expenses come from the salaries of the Director and student workers and maintenance to parking lots,” Foley said. “Their ends just don’t meet to cover all expenses.”
Because the motion failed, SGA will be sending a letter of non-support to the Council of Trustees.
SGA also approved Winter Guard as a new organization Monday.
According to Director Bruno Zuccala, Winter Guard is a way to bring color guard into an indoor setting.
Zuccala said part of their goal is to bring an international name to the university.
“Winter Guard is an international competition, and we plan to attend the world championships in Dayton, Ohio,” Zuccala said. “While it is about having a place to perform, it is also about bringing more recognition to the university.”
Winter Guard’s first performance will be in Morrow Field House on March 26 during common hour, four days before their first competition.
Five new senators were sworn into SGA Monday evening as well.
Two Commuter Senators, including Baylee Childress, were accepted into the organization. Childress said that she wanted to be involved, especially in student affairs.
“Recycling for commuters off-campus will be my main focus,” Childress said.
Megan Black and Vanessa Dufford were also elected for the two open Freshman Senator positions.
New Building F Senator Alys Cook was sworn in Monday evening as well.
“I enjoy interacting with people,” Cook said. “I want to be involved with the Campus Outreach group.”
SGA also proposed a change to their scholarship program.
According to President Dave Wolfe, the two $500 scholarships used to automatically go to the Speaker of the Senate and the Parliamentarian because they don’t receive stipends.
“It was approved in Co-Op that the scholarships should go to two student leaders instead,” Wolfe said. “This is just changing the rules, the nomination process will be discussed and voted on at a future Co-Op meeting.”