This article was written in response to “Tuition to increase 5 percent for 2017-18 school year” and “USU presidents use Tier II tuition to cover health and wellness costs.”
Utah State University has a good size to it, but not enough size to justify administrators and student leaders going around important institutions to carry out an agenda. For good or for bad, there is a rhyme and a reason to the systems we have in place. Presidents Cockett and Waddoups, USU president and USUSA president respectively, should not have increased Tier II tuition to implement funding for the Health and Wellness Center that was voted down by the student fee board.
Student fee increases must pass through the vetting of the USU Fee Board. Early in the semester, elected student officials and students-at-large gathered to hear proposals for fee increases. This year, the board approved fee increases proposed by the library and to put a CAPS fee in the hands of general student body during elections.
Rejected were a thrice-amended athletics fee, and the fee proposed by the Health and Wellness Center.
Responses taken by reporters for the Utah Statesman show that those who voted against the fee felt hesitation in regards to where the money would go and confidence that the future of the center was not hinging on this fee.
The good, per se, is the center will not have to lay off employees or defund their graduate students. The bad, however, was going around or “stepping over” the fee board.
Reasons behind pushing the fee through Tier II tuition include importance of the funding, under-representing the fee to the fee board and quite possibly a jump-of-the-gun by the center itself.
Doctor James Davis, the director of the Health and Wellness Center, openly admitted his strategy was to hire the wanted additions to his staff and then gain student support and win over the fee board.
That support ended with upset presidents overriding the system.
Increasing Tier II tuition is not a rash, unapproved method, however if the funding for the center was of such importance to go this route, it should have started here in the first place. Whether or not the fee board was given enough information is not of concern to the student body, nor is it reason for rationalization. The student representatives acted based on the information given to them. Just like when the athletics department doesn’t adequately propose its fee increases, the Health and Wellness Center is always welcome to come back the next year with a better presentation.
By and large, I personally do not disagree with the possible benefits of this fee increase. The overall tuition increase is something that was bound to happen soon, though we all wish “inflation” would reflect in our paychecks to afford the increase. What is wrong with the increase is how it was handled. Administration and elected officials not respecting the institutions put in place, that is the issue.
This is an unacceptable precedent being set by our new university president and our elected representative.
—Richard is a junior studying International Studies. Most days he’d rather be on a beach, but then he’d be sunburnt.