Students may have to pay five broad based fees come the fall semester—the Intercollegiate Athletics Fee, Recreation Center and Fields Fee, Infirmary Fee, Technology Fee and Transportation Fee—in addition to the cost of tuition, campus officials announced at a media conference on March 21.
The 2012/2013 Broad Based Fees Proposal motions for an additional $75 Recreation and Fields Fee, to be put towards the building and maintenance of the university’s new Recreation Center, and increases to all broad based fees except the Infirmary Fee.
Among those in attendance were representatives from each of the departments that have a stake in the proposal—James O’Connor, director of sustainability and transportation operations, Matt Larson, senior associate director of athletics, Susan DiMonda, associate dean and director of student life, Dr. Rachel Bergeson, director of student health services, Chuck Powell, assistant provost for teaching and learning with technology, and Lyle Gomes, interim vice president for finance. Each representative spoke about the proposed increases for their respective departments.
The athletics department has requested an increase of $7.50 per semester, or 3.3 percent of the current fee. The proposed increase to the technology fee is $7.50 per semester as well, a 3.8 percent change. The transportation department has asked a $5-per-semester increase—a difference of 4.1 percent.
Students saw increases of the athletics and transportation fees last year as well, but Larson and O’Connor said the proposed increases for the 2012-2013 school year are still necessary.
“The fee increase that was approved last year really wasn’t enough to bring us out of where we are,” O’Connor said.
According to O’Connor, the fee increase will cover costs that have changed since last year, including rising fuel costs and a changed fringe benefit rate for the university’s bus drivers.
Larsen said the athletics fee increase would be used to cover some Title IX compliance concerns, as well as operational costs and increases to transportation costs that were not covered by last year’s increase.
Susan DiMonda discussed the $75 Recreation Center Fee, the largest of the proposed fees, which would affect only undergraduate students.
According to DiMonda, a survey of Stony Brook students in the year 2000 showed student willingness to pay for a new recreational center. Tuition and economic conditions have changed drastically over the past 12 years, but DiMonda does not think public sentiment has changed with regard to the center’s creation.
“Students join gyms right now, they probably pay more than $75 a semester, and with this facility they’re gonna get much more than they get in the local gym,” DiMonda said. The second floor alone will be home to about 112 pieces of cardio equipment, she said.
Though she has not received any complaints from students, DiMonda admitted she does not know how aware students are of the fee, noting that she has only spoken to students who are on the center’s advisory board.
Mallory Rothstein, a freshman on the recreation center advisory committee, said she feels the fee is reasonable and appropriate.
“I believe that what the center is going to offer the students is worth the price,” Rothstein said in a Facebook message. “I do feel that all students will initially be upset just because no one wants to pay any more than they already do, but once they understand what the facility will offer, I think they will be okay with it.”
Rothstein said she has not heard any complaints yet, and that she does her best to explain to any student she speaks to exactly what they are paying for and why.
Meanwhile, the Infirmary Fee, which covers all programs that fall under the umbrella of Student Health Services, will remain the same, Bergeson proudly announced.
“We’re content to stay where we are for the time being,” she said, noting that no major changes are set to be made to health services operations at this time.
Campus officials stressed the idea that they are making an effort to obtain student feedback. The media conference, facilitated by Media Relations Officer Lauren Sheprow, was part of an on-going student consultation process for the proposed increases, said Gomes.
A letter informing students of the increases was sent out on March 28, and an open information session for all undergraduate students will be held April 11 during Campus Lifetime in the Student Activity Center. Graduate students can attend a forum discussion to be held on April 12 from 4:30-6:00p.m. in room 302 of the Student Activity Center.