$571,000 S&A fee approved
Alea Thorne, Staff Reporter - December 2, 2012
The Administrative fee of $571,000, taken from Services and Activities (S&A) fees was approved Wednesday night at the S&A meeting, making Central Washington University the first university to place an additional fee on the S&A funds in Washington.
At previous meetings, there have been discussions of whether administrative charges in other schools included S&A funds. Through research, the committee found that university administrative fees such as Washington State University and University of Washington do not include S&A fees to their charges. The closet model to Central is Evergreen State College, though the S&A is charged on a per occurrence basis.
“Every public university in the state of Washington receives tuition money and receives money from income generating activities like bookstores and parking lots, and as student S&A fees that are received in allocation from the legislature,” attorney Jon Ferguson said. “The legislature every year determines what the maximum tuition increase is going to be what the budget to the university is.”
Ferguson added that every public university in Washington State lives within the means provided by the legislature and tuition industries, not one of them takes student S&A fees to supplement their operating budget.
“Only one public university is attempting to do that and that’s this one,” Ferguson said.
Under the “Killian Outline, ”the guideline used by Central, as well as other universities, for the legal use of S&A fees, states that the fees are for the purpose of supporting student activities and program. According to Fred McDonald, a math professor at Central, CWU is not legally following the guidelines.
According to the guidelines, S&A fee expenditures toward salaries of professional employees not directly related to student program operations and programs, personnel faculties, equipment and maintenance, that are considered basic services provided by the college or supported by existing contracts, are illegal.
“The board is taking overhead cost from S&A fees that don’t support student activities and programs such as presidential residence and grounds keeping,” McDonald said.
According to McDonald, from 2011 to 2012, mandatory S&A fee was increased by 10 percent due to the $790,000 admin fee. Funding for student programs and activities were cut. Faculty members fear that fewer funds will be available for programs because of the new admin fee.
“If the admin fee is approved tonight, the students will pay more, “ McDonald said. “They have been paying more.”
Increase enrollment and state funding has left central $6.3 million in unanticipated revenue for the 2013 school year; however, students will still have to pay the 14 percent tuition increase planned for 2013, which means students will pay 70 percent of the university government with fees and tuition.
One of the main reasons the admin fee was approved was because the S&A committee felt the admin fee provides protection for the money needed that comes from somewhere else.
“If I have to pay that fee for services that are going through my account if the committee level is not being covered, there will be students going without jobs, students going without activities and programs that services provide them,” Theater Arts Department Chair Scott Robinson said. “If we have to come up with that through our own budgets that are provided through the committee to satisfy the administrative fee that’s being put on to all the budgets that are in this ledger we’re all are going to be in a different place providing services.”
Members of the committee also feared that if the admin fee was approved they would have similar effects and not support the students.
“I do agree that the administrative fee being cut can risk losing jobs and can do damage to the campus, but at the same time approving it can do damage in a similar way,” committee member Kylea Wells Brown said.
“It gives the message that we support and it gives the message that we will continue to allow that push over behavior of the students from the administrative staff.”
The committee felt the admin fee would benefit the school in the long run, choosing to resend the previous S&A ruling of last year when the S&A committee originally rejected the fee, and instead voted in approval.
“Congratulations, it took a long time to get here,” said Jack Baker, assistant to the dean of Student Success to the committee.