by Echo Staff
The Student Fee Advisory Committee reviewed all of the departments who receive student fee funding on April 9, 10 and 12 as a follow-up of last semester’s hearings to determine what students’ money is going toward.
Jack Phillips, SGA vice president of finance, presented an amendment to the student activity fee bylaw during the SFAC hearings on April 12.
He said the bylaw was created to allocate funds, determine what do with reserve funds and decide on how money should be spend on student activities.
Phillips read the bylaw to the Student Fee Advisory Committee.
He said application procedures and timelines would be advertised through The Echo, KUCA, Channel 6, and letters or emails to all recognized student organizations and university departments.
“After the application deadline, the president of finance and the vice president of finance will examine each application and contact the advisor for verification,” Phillips said.
Phillips said it is important to not allow funding to fall below $50,000.
“The hopes of this is that we will be able to fund more student organizations in the future,” he said. “It’s a safety net for SGA.”
The Collegiate Readership Program Fee
The Collegiate Readership Program takes $2 out of fees to give students the option to read newspapers.
Phillips said the account had $23,000 in reserve before the 2011 fall term and added more than $40,000 during the 2011 fall term and 2012 spring term. The account currently has a balance of $34,228.
“It’s being spent more than it has in the past,” Phillips said.
Phillips said the addition of New York Times to the program’s current options added additional costs to the account.
“It’s consistently $5,000 now when it was $4,000 before,” he said. “We’re trying to spend that money to offer more options for students.”
Phillips said an online subscription to The New York Times will be available to a limited number of students in the fall.
Austin Hall, SGA president, said the fee could be lowered in the future based on demand for the readership program.
The Retention Fee
Julia Winden Fey, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, and Vicki Wyeth, supervisor for the Academic Success Center, presented their report on the retention fee.
Winden Fey said the tutoring program was restructured a few years ago. Enrollment Management and the Academic Success Center combined resources to create the “recruit students and help students become successful division.”
“This is the first year that the Academic Success Center and the Writing Center have had the fee that we split,” Winden Fey said.
Wyeth said purchases were made to improve the printing system with the funding they received from SGA.
She said students could print for free but it was “very unsatisfying” and said the new Pharos printing system is more efficient.
“It’s the Cadillac of printing systems,” she said.
The supplemental instructor program is used by the center as a way for students to have study groups led by someone who previously took class.
Winden Fey said SI leaders are trained to “bring it back to the students.”
“We’ve got limited but very good data from it,” Wyeth said.
Hall said his concern was about how the organization planned on spending the money and the outlook on the Academic Success Center.
Winden Fey said the computer lab has 20 computers and is in constant use. She said it is necessary to upgrade them every five years with a minimum rollover of two or three years.
A rollover of about $5,800 from the account for the cost of replacing computers in the future would take place each year, Winden Fey said. “A large chunk will go to keep the lab “up and running.”
“I think supplemental instruction is something UCA really could use,” Wyeth said.
Winden Fey said tutors are used in mainly general education courses or gateway courses like biology, chemistry, math and history.
“History is one of the most dropped and failed classes,” she said.
SI leaders function as the “model student” and enable students to have a peer that pushes them on a weekly basis, Winden Fey said.
“They are a role model as well as an outside tutor,” she said. “SI leaders should not be re-teaching the course.”
They hold sessions that students are invited to every week, Winden Fey said.
Wyeth said SI leaders are paid to attend classes and receive $8 an hour and tutors are paid $7.25 an hour for 10 hours a week.
Winden Fey said the first year of any program is not “stellar” but said the success will be seen from data collected over a period of a few years.
“It kind of sells itself when you get the good data,” Wyeth said.
Winden Fey said funding would be used to have more tutoring options and technology upgrades.
The Student Center Fee
During the SFAC hearing for the Student Center fee, Hank Phelps, director of the Student Center, explained what is being done with the current Student Center fee.
Phelps said the number of events that take place in the Student Center increased dramatically from the fall of 2010 to the fall of 2011.
“We’ve had a 20 percent increase in [events], it’s mostly been in meeting rooms,” Phelps said.
As a result of increased bookings in events, the student payroll has been increased. Phelps said that there have been talks of expanding the Student Center.
“We have a list of student centers we want to go to and come back with ideas of what we want to see,” Phelps said.
The expansion all depends on what the university can afford.
Phelps said that if the Student Center were to expand west, that would mean tearing down Short/Denney Residents Hall. All of these ideas are still under consideration and are not official. Phelps went on to explain what the Student Center actually had done with the money it had received this year.
“We got new equipment for the custodians, new vacuums, etc.,” Phelps said.
New projectors were put in all of the meeting rooms in the Student Center this year. Phelps said that the front of the Student Center was pressure washed and new hand dryers were put in all of the bathrooms.
“They’re very powerful,” Phelps said. “Eventually we want to get rid of all of the paper towels.”
The staff of the Student Center ordered 500 new chairs for the ballroom, which ran at $45 a piece.
The idea that Phelps said he had for the future is to make the bathrooms in the Student Center as touch free as possible. “We want to make the toilets, urinals and sinks automatic,” Phelps said. “We also want to replace the countertops.”
Phelps said the main thing that he wants to get for the Student Center in the future is a new kind of calendar software. This new software that Phelps is looking at has an initial cost of $30,000.
This new software would allow users to see what rooms are available, reserve a room online and, according to Phelps, would make record keeping easier.
The Student Activities Board Fee
Kendra Regehr, director of student activities, represented the Student Activities Board for the meeting with the Student Fee Advisory Committee.
Regehr began the meeting by talking about what has been happening with SAB this year and what she would like to see for next year.
“Students would like to see more big names on campus. I would love to see big names on campus whether this be comedians or whatnot,” she said. “To do this we would need to have more budget.”
She also talked about a possibility and why it is difficult.
“We could put all of the comedy funds together and get one large name, but we have had cancellations before and that costs us money in advertising,” she said. “People are getting more expensive; everything is getting more expensive.”
Regehr said SAB still plans to have the big events that they normally have such as Spring Fling.
Sophomore Branson White suggested that SAB could get some help.
“Reynolds said it’s really hard to get a big Broadway show and things like that, could you two possibly partner together?” he asked.
Regehr said that they have not done that before but that it is an option.
“That’s certainly possible. I could sit down with Jerry and talk about that,” she said. “I’m certainly not opposed to that.”
Regehr also said that she would try to put the fee increase to great use.
“I would make my best effort to get big name people, but I can’t make a promise because again people do sometimes cancel,” she said. “The purpose of the fee increase is to get the bigger people. We usually get them when they have been routing through the area on tour. It is the isolated dates that are more difficult.”
Regehr showed great need during the meeting for a student activities fee increase.
The HPER Center Fee
Facilities coordinator Jesse Flack represented the HPER Center fee.
Flack said that he was not too worried about a presentation and spoke a little about what the HPER expansion was about and when it would be done.
“Right now the students are paying $9.12 per credit hour for the HPER expansion. Eighty cents of that goes for the softball fields and $8.62 goes for the expansion and maintenance on the HPER,” he said.
Flack said that the fee was raised on Feb. 12.
He also said that construction on the expansion will hopefully start in the spring of 2013 and will be done by fall of 2014. He said the earliest that it could be done is the summer of 2014.
Sophomore Branson White was concerned about students using the HPER while construction was under way.
Flack said that the students would be able to use the facility during the expansion.
“Students would have total access to the building during the construction. We aren’t looking to have to close down at all,” he said.
Flack also said that the new part of the HPER Center is to go where the current HPER center parking lot is. He assured the committee that the new part would not impose on the nature reserve at all.
The International Fee
Interim Director of International Engagement, John Parrack, explained how the only international fee is distributed.
He said that only international students pay for the fee, currently that goes towards admissions, advising, course registration, insurance, cultural activities, excursions, town hall meetings, student orientation and recognition ceremony. The net revenue for the 2011-2012 fiscal year was $135,343.
“Last year travel recruit spending was $86,243. This year, its $9,535,” Parrack said. He said the reduction costs are due to having an interim position as opposed to a permanent director for International Engagement and they will probably increase once that position is filled. There are no plans to increase the international student fee which has been in place for four years.
The Library Fee
Art Lichtenstein, director of the Torreyson Library, represented the library fee.
The current fee is $3 per credit hour and will generate about $800,000 annually.
Lichtenstein said the proposal for the “Torreyson Library 24/5” project in which the library’s first floor will be open 24 hours a day, five days a week, is estimated to cost $169,523.
New security cameras have been installed in the library. This money will go towards construction, staff and other miscellaneous costs. He said he hopes to hire four new staff members to assist students.
Lichtenstein said he projects the first floor renovations to be ready by the beginning of June.
As of March 21, the fee has accumulated to $301,717.
Performing Arts and Publication fees
Rollin Potter, dean of the fine arts and communication department, Donna Stephens, professor of journalism, and Jerome Biebesheimer, director of the Reynolds Performance Hall, represented the Performing Arts and Publication fees during the Student Fee Advisory Committee hearings.
Seniors Callie France, “The Scroll” yearbook editor, and Mary DeLoney, The Echo newspaper editor, spoke to Student Government Association members regarding questions concerning the Publication fee.
Students pay a $6 Publication fee to receive copies of the student publications “The Scroll,” “The Vortex” and The Echo.
France said only full time students can receive a yearbook for free and the program offers scholarship opportunities for students involved in creating the book.
DeLoney said The Echo newspaper also provides scholarship opportunities for students involved in laying out the paper as well as a great learning experience. “The Echo” receives a lot of its funding through the advertisements it sells to be able to publish 5,000 copies a week.
Potter said, “It’s important to know that all of these publications have won all kinds of awards, just all over the place.”
He also said the department is working on a new professional journal the “Toad Suck Review” which is also winning awards.
Biebesheimer said that past performances at Reynolds Performance Hall were “presidentially driven” but that President Tom Courtway is not as interested as former President Allen Meadors in performance selections and has not issued as much money for the department. The performances for the next season have dwindled from a previous season of 19 events to 15 events.
Biebesheimer said it’s easier to determine who students want to see perform on campus now that an SGA senator has been speaking with him.
“There are going to be more high profile speakers,” he said. “We’re going to be spending about the same money, maybe a little bit less but I think we’re going to be getting a little more bang for our buck.”
He said the performers are paid for by the fee and also by earned income from ticket sales.
“We’re trying to get a mix of things that will interest a lot of people. We even have this new theory this year that it’s OK to have things that will interest students,” he said jokingly.
Biebesheimer said that it’s taking longer to book performers for the next season than it normally does.
The Access and Security Fee
Chief Larry James and Public Safety Commander Christopher Bentley represented the Access and Security Fee during the Student Fee Advisory Committee hearings on April 10.
The Access and Security fee generates $27 a semester for the police department.
James said the department has been working toward expanding its outreach programs with that money since last semester’s hearing.
He said participation has made UCAPD events very successful and that officers came in contact with over 1,400 students during Safe Spring Break.
The Access and Security Fee, he said, is used to help improve issues students bring up during Operation Safe Walk as well but that a lot of the money this fee brings in for the department is “earmarked” for other expenses.
Bentley said, “Most of our stuff hits every year it’s the same things that’s going to happen. Things from permits, we have to have to buy new permits every year, we have to buy the parking brochure that has the rules and regulations along with an updated map of the campus.”
James said a lot of the routine maintenance tasks the department keeps up with year-to-year are paid through money generated from parking meters on campus.
He said the parking meters generate between $40,000 to $50,000 a year but that with the HPER Center expansion some of the parking meters will be lost.
Bentley said UCAPD is working on its camera initiative by installing outdoor and indoor cameras each year.
“There can’t be a number,” he said referring to the number of cameras needed on campus.
He said that with priority areas on campus and with car break-ins occurring in different parking lots that department is working on installing cameras everywhere, but that it is an expensive movement.
James said the movement will take years because with each installation, overtime older cameras will have to be updated and replaced.
“There are over 400 cameras on campus,” Bentley said. “That’s a lot and we still have a long way to go.”
He said there is still a lot more that the department plans on doing with its funding, including installing safety phones around campus.
The Radio Fee
Monty Rowell, with the UCA radio station, represented the student Radio Fee and did not ask for a fee increase for the department.
Rowell said he wants to convert to high definition radio sometime soon before he retires.
“I have done a little research on high def radio, but I am just now learning about it. It is just unbelievable how good this sounds,” he said. “The total cost for the conversion is going to be about $500,000. I will not come back in here and ask for another fee increase. We will just fund it as we can and fund it as we go. We can take care of it ourselves.”
Rowell said he was confident that the radio station could take care of the financial issues itself.
Sophomore Branson White, SGA senator-at-large, asked about the high definition radio during the meeting.
Rowell explained that one would have to have a specific system and that they are not too popular right now.
“You would have to have an HD receiver. Higher end cars have started to have these in them, but we would need to see it go widespread first,” he said. “My biggest fear is that it could go down like AM stereo.”
Rowell also mentioned that the electricity bill would double at the radio station because of the upgraded high definition. He added that the electricity bill is paid for by the university as a part of Conway Corp.
The radio station fee for students is to remain at five dollars per credit hour.
Athletics Director Brad Teague met with SGA’s Student Fee Advisory Committee April 9 at 4 p.m. to discuss the athletics fee. UCA students pay $17 per credit hour for the athletics fee, the highest of any school in the state and one of the highest in the Southland Conference.
Teague said he doesn’t anticipate a request of an increase in fees for at least five years, partly due to the fact that UCA is now receiving NCAA funding. UCA will receive about $330,000 worth of NCAA funding for the 2013 fiscal year.
Teague said one-third of athletics expenses are scholarships for student athletes, which is about $3,000,000.
A concern from last semester’s SFAC meeting with Teague was funding for the cheer and dance teams to compete nationally. Teague said there is no funding in the athletic budget for these teams to compete nationally because the national competitions are not intercollegiate.
Health Center Fee
Director of the Health Center Rochelle McFerguson met with SGA’s Student Fee Advisory Committee April 9 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the Health Center fee.
McFerguson said this semester they have had an increase in lab fees, added STD screenings and have added a part-time employee to work in the lab.
McFerguson said they are looking into a back-up generator for the Health Center and looking at preliminary costs to add a pharmacy to the Health Center.
She also said the Health Center would benefit from a new x-ray machine.
Assistant Director of the Health Center Sandy Childress said the Health Center has done 350 STD tests since January.
She said they have about 10 visits a week to the center for STD testing and it costs about $25-$50 per test.
The Health Center has a policy that a student may be tested only twice per semester.
McFerguson said the Health Center would need a budged increase in the next 3-5 years. A main expense they would need to increase the budget for is lab testing.
Cooperative Education Fee
Assistant Dean of Students Kathy Clayborn met with SGA’s Student Fee Advisory Committee April 10 at 4 p.m. Clayborn said the Cooperative Education office is the only office on campus completely supported by the student fee.
The office is located within student services. The fee is fifty cents per credit hour and has not been increased in ten years.
Clayborn said she thinks the fifty cents per credit hour could hold the Cooperative Education office for at least another ten years. However, the budget limits what the office can do.
Cooperative Education has recently added an in-house internship program where students can work in an internship related to their major on-campus.