SRU administration explores parking permit fee increase, SGA supports

Kevin Squires, Assistant News Editor
February 25, 2014

The cost for a parking permit at Slippery Rock University could double next year, with an additional 50 percent increase the following year. The parking permit fee increase was among various fee increases that Molly Mercer, Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration, explained to the Student Government Association Monday night which are expected to be presented to the Council of Trustees for approval at their next meeting. According to a report by U.S. News based on data from 2012, 62 percent of the students at Slippery Rock University have cars on campus.

“We’re taking a look at phasing in an increase initially to 50 dollars and then subsequently to 75 dollars,” Mercer said. Currently, parking permits are 25 dollars a year.

“As I took a look this, I found that the non-mandatory fees that are set here at Slippery Rock are much lower than the PASSHE average and they are also lower than the cost that’s needed to cover those services,” Mercer said.

The parking fee increases at this point are expected to be the same, regardless of if a student lives on campus or are commuters and when they started at Slippery Rock University, though Mercer said other options are still being explored.

“I personally recommended raising it eventually to a hundred dollars,” Senator Cody Moody said. “If you look at the numbers, we are deeply in the red and we can’t function like that. I know we like only paying 25 dollars but that’s not reality. It needs to be raised if we’re going to keep being able to salt, plow and maintain the parking lots.”

The administration plans to pursue the option of employees paying for parking though Mercer said it will require discussion with the various labor unions at the university. “Currently employees do not pay for parking,” Mercer said. “I think it would be quite some time before we would have a full resolution with the labor unions on that.”

“I don’t believe it’s an unreasonable request,” SGA APSCUF Representative Dr. Lynch said. “Be patient. It’s not going to happen next fall. It’s not going to happen next spring…don’t expect it to happen overnight.”

Mercer stated that administration is proposing fee increases for the tuition payment plan, from 25 to 40 dollars, the late payment plan, from 15 to 30 dollars and returned check fees, from 15 to 30 dollars, in addition to parking permit fee increase. The fee increases would need to be presented to the Council of Trustees and approved before going into effect.

A letter to be written by SGA President Buddy Clements in support of the fee increases presented by Molly Mercer was approved by the senate, but will also request that faculty parking permit fees be examined. “I truly appreciate the administration bringing us into this discussion,” Clements said.

Dr. Itzi Meztli, a member of the Slippery Rock Borough Council, updated the senate on the bulk trash pickup day. He also spoke on recycling issues in apartment complexes and encouraged students to get involved in government.

“They will have bulk trash in the borough the Friday after graduation,” Meztli said. “I do what I can to protect your interests.”

SGA also motioned untable the approval of constitutional changes which were then approved by the senate. The changes result in two non-voting representatives on the senate appointed by the Slippery Rock University chapter of the Association of Pa. State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and four faculty members, two of whom shall be elected each year by the faculty and each of whom shall serve a two year term as a non-voting member and one non-voting member appointed by the SRU President from the Division of Finance and Administration who will serve a two year term on the Board of Cooperative Activities.

“We’re not losing any voting members for students, it’s just for faculty. We spoke with Dr. Burkhart of APSCUF and Dr. Watson. This is honestly to help protect the faculty from being punished for being a voting member; that could be seen as adverse interest which the trustees feel is most things we vote on,” Clements said. “This is honestly to get in full compliance with our Memorandum of Understanding and hopefully it will pass through our next trustees meeting.”

“We know that SRSGA has no choice in doing this really but we don’t like it so in good conscience we can’t vote for it,” Senator Cody Moody said in explanation for his and some others abstaining from the motion.

SGA approved SRU- Collegiate Middle Level Association, Without Borders, and Study Abroad Club as recognized organizations.

Wayne Miller-Douglass and Katie Hill were elected to two of the three open seats for Commuter Senator. Hill was also named “liter” of the week.

The senate also voted to approve the minutes from the meeting on Feb. 10 and the Co-Op actions from the meeting on Feb. 20. The next senate meeting will be March 10 at 8:45 p.m. in the theater of the Robert M. Smith Student Center.

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