On Wednesday, the Student Government Association discussed increasing student fees at its weekly assembly meeting.
As a part of East Carolina University's SGA week, the meeting was held at 6 p.m in Ballroom C of the Main Campus Student Center. This meeting focused on budget increases for three of ECU’s departments. The athletic, education and technology and student center departments asked for a combined total of $77 from the board, of the $78 limit that the SGA has set previously.
“A lot of students don’t know that they can show up to these meetings and ask questions about student fee increases, our goal is to make sure students are heard,” junior art major and fine arts representative for SGA Joshua Smith said.
Students can show up to any of SGA’s assembly meetings to express any concerns about campus, not just about fee increases. The departments go to SGA each year to propose a fee increase.
Each SGA member is active in settling concerns between departments and questioning the proposed budget increases, as well as which departments will receive increases. SGA also passes bills and laws that affect student life.
“As the negotiators, our voice is highly taken into consideration, this is why the athletic department will come to us and ask us for an increase, because if they don’t they can actually take from other departments,” Smith said.
Despite students joining the Student Pirate Club, ticket sales have contributed to the debt of the athletic department, Smith said.
The meeting began with the athletic department’s proposition. Associate Vice Chancellor/Budget and Athletics Fiscal Affairs Stephanie Coleman said the department asked for a fee increase of $50, less than the $100 that the department asked for last season. These increases would go towards staff wages and the upkeep of ECU’s athletic fields.
SGA week was created to bring awareness to the club and to promote students to become more active on campus. The idea was a collaboration between juniors Lydia Cone, director of Marketing and Communication for SGA, and Mariama Ibrahim, student body attorney general. Over the summer, the directors and executives stay and come up with new ideas for the school year.
The athletic department was then met with questions regarding the increase, in particular, what students would gain from it. The student assembly was encouraged to ask about how the athletic department plans to use the increase. Ibrahim then questioned the motives of the department.
“What are the students getting back from all of this? Money is constantly coming out of our pockets, but we’re not really seeing anything back. We all go to the football games, but that’s about it,” Ibrahim said.
Next, the Education and Technology department proposed a $10 increase, which would support 22 staff positions and educational supplies for lab classes across campus. The fee increase would also cover Joyner Library and infrastructure that would support learning online.
“It’s all about realizing how to improve the overall learning across campus, for every college,” Wendy Creasy, director of academic technologies, said.
450 classrooms across campus would benefit from the increase, as certain courses require an updated and modern approach to learning, Creasy said. The Education and Technology department noted that ECU has done a good job at supporting the Education and Technology system, she said.
Creasy said each year, the software that students use is evaluated for its effectiveness and with the $10 increase, a lot of the network traffic could be ceased, as well as the upgrade of wireless devices.
“Technology is part of everything, so no matter what we are going to have to look at what we can let go so that we can build better skills,” Creasy said.
Tools for instructions, plagiarism, and portfolios are also included in the budget. Creasy said that budgeting is always a matter of choice, as other departments are going to receive priority.
The Student Center then proposed a $17 increase, which will go towards the beautification of the facility. This includes the upkeep of the facilities and the wages of some staff members. With little questioning, the conversation concluded and the representatives ended the meeting.