Going up: Senate raises student activity fee

The atmosphere was tense after a long discussion of Amendment One in last week’s Community Senate meeting. Next on the to-do list was the topic of increasing the activity fee for students. Would this cause another heated debate among friends?

Luckily this topic did not evoke more frustration among the Guilford community members present that day, with Senate passing the proposal without much discussion. Pending a decision by the Board of Trustees, the proposal will increase the student activity fee by 30 percent, or $100. This also translates into an increase in total tuition by about 0.2 percent.

But what exactly would all this extra money go towards and how will the student body benefit from this change?

“The extra money would be used to support need-based scholarships encouraging access for a diverse student population, to fund a new student-designed concert and lecture series, to enhance budget allocations for student organizations and service activities and to create a project fund for annual needs similar to the recent wireless project and Community Center lounge renovation,” said Erin Fox, director of student leadership and engagement.

As with any change or increase in tuition, concerns arise. Some include where the money is going and whether the increase will burden students financially.

“The main concerns with the proposal have been the additional financial burden to students and the additional supervision of funds and added programs, specifically the scholarship fund and the lecture series,” said Fox.

Besides these concerns, junior and Diversity Action Chair for Steering Committee Tim Leisman brought up his own.

“My concern is that if this proposal is not accompanied by an effective plan to monitor student organization expenditures, it will just be throwing money at the problem of relatively low interest in student-run events,” said Leisman. “Is the problem the appeal of our events, or is it the attitude of Guilford students?”

Though these concerns are shared by others in the community, some are not worried. Junior Emily Cooper, business manager for Steering Committee, sees the proposal differently than Leisman.

“I do not have any concerns involving the proposal,” said Cooper. “The money will be spent to benefit students.”

“I think some students may be upset by the raise,” added Cooper.  “However, those who have gone to meetings and understand why we are doing this should understand why we came to this decision.”

The discussions now revolve around the extra $100 that students will need to pay and whether it will cause issues amongst the Guilford student body.

“My hope is that the relatively trivial increase per student — the sum of which over a four-year period is less than what a student might spend in one semester for books — versus the significant combined gain in resources and support for student initiatives and organizations, will create a mostly positive stance” said Fox.

Even though the proposal was already passed in Community Senate, it still needs approval from the Board of Trustees before tuition is raised.