SGA votes to support SRU administration’s proposed fee increases

Published by adviser, Author: Kevin Squires, Date: March 9, 2015
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Slippery Rock Student Government Association President Katie Hill will draft a letter of support on behalf of SGA for fee increase proposals to the Council of Trustees at their meeting March 20. The fee increases being submitted involve dining, residence life, health services and the student center. SGA voted to support the fee increases during their formal senate meeting March 2.

The health services fee increase letter was approved with the stipulation that options and communication about health center fees be examined regarding student teachers. Currently, student teachers can opt to pay the fee to use the health center, but are not required to.

“Along with the fees, I spoke with [SRU Vice President for Finance and Administrative Affairs Dr. Amir Mohammadi] about this. We would like to push for parking fees again. Last year we pushed for a $25 parking fee which would eventually lead up to a $75 parking fee,” SGA Vice President of Financial Affairs Baylee Childress said. “We’re the only school that doesn’t charge for parking and that’s something that would help take care of some of our financial issues as well as the parking issues on campus.”

According to the SRU website, a parking permit is required for students to park on campus. A parking permit currently costs $25.

“Dr. Mohammadi assured me that if we kind of start it up that administration will back us up,” Childress said. She said that she hopes to have a letter drafted to be presented along with the letter of support from Hill.

Dining services, by contract, is increased 2.99 percent based on the consumer price index food away from home, a $49 per semester increase for students with the standard issue 15 meal per week plan. There is a $26,988 surplus in revenue projected for the upcoming year.

A 2 percent increase is being requested for the fees to live in the traditional dorms or the ROCK Apartments within Residence Life. The residential suites are owned by the Slippery Rock University Foundation and follow a set increase schedule separate from this request. Administration asked for a two percent increase last year which was shot down by the council. The based on the fee increases and a 99 percent occupancy rate in the living spaces, there is a $352,552 profit projected for next year. These funds would be transferred to the maintenance reserve fund.

“In looking at housing we’re really looking at doing some major projects,” Executive Director of Student Services Deb Pincek said.  These include redoing the bathrooms in North Hall, redoing the entrance to Rhoads Hall, upgrading the Graduate Assistant apartment in Rhoads, creating more personalized LLC rooms, and painting Building F. The painting of Building F would come out of a different budget as it is a part of the residence suites. Residence Life is also looking to create additional housing at Rhoads in future years, utilizing the first floor space once the health center and counseling center are relocated to the University Union at a later time. Also planned are upgrades to the bathrooms and kitchens of ROCK Apartments and new furnishing and carpeting.

The Robert M. Smith Center has run a deficit for the past three years, requiring money from the reserve budget to balance the operating fees. This deficit was attributed by Pincek to enrollment fees not generating enough revenue for the building’s budget as, with the exception of last year, enrollment numbers were not as high as hoped when anticipating the revenue.  Administration is requesting a $12 per semester increase to the student fee for the student center, a 6 percent increase from $198.50 to $210.50. The projected loss with the increase is $1,064.

The banking contract with PNC is up this year and up for bid which is currently being reviewed. PNC contributes $100,000 annually to the building.

The Health Services fee increase $10.50 for the year, resulting in a projected gain of $4,766. The fee increase is being requested to maintain the current level of service at the health center. Slippery Rock University is the only Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) school with a 24/7 health center and one of only seven in the US, according to Kris Benkeser, director of health services. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they have saved students’ lives,” Benkeser said of the health center.

The Happy Bus will continue the evening route for the remainder of the semester. “My original proposal was to run the bus during daylight savings time only, but fortunately enough we got a low rate at the beginning of the semester with gas being so low so we have enough money to run the bus for the rest of the semester,” SGA Vice President of Campus Outreach Jared Stanley said.

The senate also approved a new initiative for $683 for the triathlon club to send two qualifying members to the 2015 Collegiate Club National Championships on April 25 in Clemson, South Carolina. “Run, swim and bike fast,” Hill said.

A $120 initiative for amnesty international was also approved for advertising their events for the semester.

Jillian Wilcox and Will Gallagher were elected commuter senators. Goalball and SRU Archaeology were approved as recognized clubs.

SGA also approved a new business logo to be used on all SGA communication from now on.

Jenna Temple and Andre Roberts were awarded the SGA Bookstore Endowed Scholarship for their leadership on campus.

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