Fee board proposals nearly final
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 13:02
The Student Fee Board held its last meeting of the semester Thursday with a vote for a 50 cent increase in student fees to go toward Aggie Blue Bikes. Christian Orr, who acted as the fee board chair, said the board was the first part in a series that would ultimately decide whether or not to pass the fee.
“Once a decision is made through the fee board then it goes to the president, then the board of trustees and then the board of regents,” Orr said. “If it’s passed through all those levels then those changes happen. It’s a really good system.”
Orr said the original bid was much higher than the outcome and the three weeks needed to deliberate the fee change helped them save the students as much as was possible.
“We just ended our last meeting for this year with the fee board. It was originally $11.25,” Orr said. “The fee board last night went through every single one of those propositions, we had our final vote and it went from that amount to 50 cents. The board made a decision that the students do not need to pay these additional fees.”
The 50 cents increase, if passed by the rest of the university and state boards, would be, according to Orr, one of the smallest increases USU has seen in decades.
He said the fact that the students and administrators on the board were all concerned with the cost of student life helped them ultimately make the decision to keep the fees low.
Matthew Anderson, one of the “students at large,” a group of students who are unaffiliated with any of the petitioning groups, said it was easy for him to see what he should vote for.
“I had to see if it was worth the students’ money,” Anderson said. “There were some fees that came before us that shouldn’t be going toward student fees, they should have been going to other programs and other things should have been picking them up and not us. That was the first thing that helped me determine it.”
Anderson said the fees at USU have been growing rapidly since he first arrived five years ago and he personally was feeling the affects of the constant increases. Both he and Orr said while the programs on campus need funding to grow, now is not the time for it.
Anderson and Orr said none of the petitioning groups were ready to grow, but Aggie Blue Bikes needed to stay open. Without the 50 cents increase, they would have had to fire two of their student employees.
“It was to keep them alive and to keep it stable,” Anderson said. “We weren’t growing it. We were just making sure that it stayed stable with the amount of student employees, and that’s the key. It wasn’t like someone from the community that was coming. These are student employees and student jobs, and that’s why it passed.”
However, not all members of the fee board voted the same. Daryn Frischknecht and Blake DeVries, two other students at large on the board, both said they supported a $1.50 increase in fees to go toward the Aggie Marching Band. The increase would have helped the band purchase new music and uniforms.
“I believe that it’s a front door to the university,” DeVries said about the band. “When visitors come see us they’ll listen to the marching band. It’s part of our school pride. The football games wouldn’t be the same without the Aggie Marching Band or the pep band or anything else like that. That’s what kind of gives us that school spirit at the games.”
Frischknecht had similar reasons.
“I supported that because the more I learned about the band and why they wanted the fees I felt that it was a representation of Utah State, and the band is introduced at all of the games as ASUSU’s marching band,” she said.
Aside from cutting the fee proposal down to a fraction of what it originally was, Orr said the board set a new standard for future fee boards on campus.
“Last night a precedent was set with the theatre and music fee,” Orr said. “That department, that college, asked for money to go towards new lighting and sound systems and video equipment for the theatres, and the board went back and looked at the legislation on that and determined that that was not an appropriate use and that should come from other sources.”
Orr said it was an academic fee that should come from tuition and state funding rather than the students.
“That’s a milestone thing because in setting that precedent, it means that in the future, when any other things come up like this, then the answer is directly ‘No,’” Orr said.