By Katherine Ayers
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The student body president at East Carolina University is not happy about a $30 increase in athletics fees approved by the Board of Trustees during its Nov. 30 meeting.
But Justin Davis said it is not the money that bothers him.
“The Board of Trustees disregarded student opinion,” he said. “The bottom line is that it’s not the dollars that matter, it’s the confidence of students.”
In a phone interview on Monday, Davis said the ECU athletics department originally asked for a $33 fee increase. As is custom when tuition and fees discussions happen each year, the Student Government Association sent out a survey and met with students in an attempt to discern their wishes.
Students indicated they would agree to the $3 graduation and $40 education and technology fee increases but said they wanted no increase in athletics fees.
After the survey, the student government executive council recommended no increase in the fee to the Student Senate. A compromise was made, and the Student Senate recommended a $10 increase to the ECU executive council made up of faculty, staff and administration. Another compromise was made, and the ECU executive council recommended a $15 increase to ECU’s Chancellor Steve Ballard, who then recommended that $15 increase to the Board of Trustees.
The board approved a $30 increase in athletics fees, $3 less than what the department wanted.
“This fee had already gone through three levels of compromise; that shows we’re trying,” Davis said. “We do support athletics, but we have to listen to what the students want.”
Rick Niswander, ECU’s vice chancellor for administration and finance, said Davis’ concern that the board does not listen to the students is unfounded.
“Of the 46 requests for fee increases, 41 times everyone agreed (on what the increases should be),” he said.
This year, Niswander said there were many hours of discussion concerning the athletics fee before it was approved.
“If the board wasn’t paying attention to the students, there would have been no discussion,” the vice chancellor said.
Robert Lucas, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said a factor in the $30 increase this year was ECU’s acceptance into the Big East Conference on Nov. 27.
“We had to take that particular situation into consideration,” he said. “We’re going to have to compete with schools that have even greater resources, and we can’t get behind the curve on this.”
Lucas, a former ECU student body president, said the board can work on improved communication with students.
“What we’ve got to do is do a better job in getting student input across the board in regard to tuition and other fees,” he said.
Contact Katherine Ayers at firstname.lastname@example.org and 252-329-9567.
via The Daily Reflector.