Consensus: Fair, frivolous fees

The fee increases approved by the Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee add some necessary fund augmentations to departments in real need of the funds, but some increases seem frivolous in this time of austerity. As campus continues to grow, the need to have efficient transportation around Tech becomes even more necessary. The Transportation fee increase also seems reasonable considering the rising cost of fuel, which heavily affects the department’s bottom line. The Health fee increase also has its merits since the money will be used for tangible goals that the Health Center has clearly laid out for the campus. SGA and the Office of Information Technology should also be applauded for their ability to make do with what they already receive from the student body.

The increase in the Athletic Fee, however, seems poorly timed and unnecessary. Given that the substantial increase in the student fee four years ago has been followed by an added cost for block seating as well as several marginal increases, the Athletic Association must learn to balance its own budget and not try to dip into the pockets of students when the department’s ticket sales fall short. While the AA is no doubt being affected by the stagnant economic conditions, they must not forget that students are as well.

But the underlying problem with the system is the lack of transparency of the whole process. The majority of the students voting on the fees will never pay the fees themselves, and the vast majority of student are completely unaware of the proposal before they go to vote. Instead of a secretive committee, the fee increases should be put to the vote in UHR and GSS. If Representatives and Senators were allowed to vote, fee increases would be considered more thoroughly and debating them in the legislative bodies would bring the situation to the forefront.

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