President William Behre attended the Slippery Rock University Student Government Association’s (SRSGA) formal meeting on Monday to announce he will be proposing a 2% tuition increase to the board of trustees in the coming weeks.
SRU has not seen a tuition increase in three years. In that time frame, Behre said that contracts have been renegotiated for faculty and staff receiving an increase in pay, leaving a $4 million budget gap. The increase for an average student would come to be about an additional $180 per year and the revenue gained from this increase would go into funding for those deficits. The budget gap will still be present, though, so to further diminish it, Behre said some cuts will have to be made.
“We’ll try to trim it at the margins and we’ll frankly try to make it so you don’t even notice it,” Behre said when asked by Liberal Arts Senator Amanda Brock about specific cuts.
Behre also announced that starting next year, if the COVID-19 mass testing center is still needed at the Student Health Center, a fee may be implemented for anyone needing a test. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act gave the university a budget for assisting all those affected by COVID-19, which included funding the testing center. That budget will run out as of next year and in order for tests to be done, the funding would have to come from the students.
“There’s a million ifs and asterisks,” Behre said about the specifics of who would need testing and how it would be conducted.
Continuing with the meeting, Graduate Senator Laken Draksler spoke during the open forum to raise attention to the necessity of a wage increase for graduate assistants on campus. With many other graduate assistants in the audience, Draksler informed the Senate that the average assistant has “a net monthly loss of several hundreds at a minimum, due to our low wages,” after the bills students must still pay, even with the tuition waiver that is offered.
“Saving is not the same as making,” Draksler said.
At the previous formal meeting, a motion was presented by Education Senator Rebekah Froehlich to amend the SRSGA bylaws to read that students running for a position “must disclose to the student body before being elected or voted on any prospective or current executive position(s) in any other campus organization(s).” Froehlich said this ensures that if a person wins their elected position, they will be able to give their full attention to their role. The amendment was passed, being opposed only by Brock.
Earlier in the semester, Brock ran for the position of vice president of finance against Sydney Rezzetano. A concern about Brock’s possible bias was brought up by Vice President of Outreach Aiden Donnelly during the Senate’s discussion on the two candidates due to her position as treasurer for three other organizations.
The Rules and Policies committee put forth a resolution to amend article VII in the bylaws dealing with dismissal, impeachment, and vacancies within the SRSGA senate. Its purpose is to create a clearer and more streamlined way to allow everyone in the Senate to follow and understand the rules they are to uphold, said Froehlich when asked to comment on the resolution’s purpose. The resolution was voted to be tabled until the next formal meeting to give everyone in the Senate a chance to review all of its details.
Team Rock was confirmed as a new student organization on campus, making it the seventh faith-based club SRU offers. They are a sports group run voluntarily for those that enjoy physical activity and also wish to learn about the Bible, according to the group’s description on CORE. All senators approved for the club to be recognized, except for Transfer Senator Madeline Smith, Education Senator Gabriel Stiles, and Liberal Arts Senator Ezeck Warren who each opposed, as well as an abstention from Freshman Senator Rose Resnick.
The next formal meeting will be held at the Smith Student Center theater on Monday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. The Senate encourages all members of the SRU community to attend if they have any issues they believe should be brought to the attention of the Senate. More information on their meetings can be found on their CORE page.