Student body gives approval to use of fees


When Davies Center was being rebuilt, the university needed quick funds to pay for the purchase and installation of lights, sound and video equipment and furniture.


To get the building open and completed before students moved in, University Centers pitched in over $1.5 million to the purchase of that equipment, with the understanding they would be repaid.


Charles Farrell, director of University Centers, said until now they haven’t gotten any money back.


He worked with the dean of administration and finance to find funds to repay them with, and finally addressed the Student Senate at Monday’s meeting to get the approval to give money back out of the funds collected through student fees for the maintenance and bills for Davies Center.


Farrell said money issues like this happen from time to time.


“We had built up some money in anticipation of the move (to the new Davies Center),” Farrell said. “And that was one of them.”


The money came from a fund built up from fees collected starting in 1999, when discussions began about building a new student union.


Of the $9 million that was eventually collected, half went to the planning and development costs of the building, and the other $4.5 million has stayed as a buffer for emergency costs for the building.


There is an annual $3 million bond payment for the building, and with the reimbursement of University Centers there would still be enough in reserves to cover a drop in enrollment, even a catastrophic one, without immediately raising fees to cover Davies Center’s building payments for current students.


Every year student fees make the payments, but the money is saved for a time of need.


University Centers does receive money from segregated fees already, but the costs for building Davies Center and the costs to maintain and pay off the building are completely paid for through fees from students.


Student Senate’s approval was necessary to approve the movement of student fees to one area in another.


Student Body President Sam Fish said borrowing money from one area in the school to pay for another project is in an effort to keep things moving quickly.


“It’s not unheard of,” Fish said. “When you’re in the middle of a building project the state has a firm hold of what’s able to be spent and what’s not. To be able to open in a timely manner, they needed to use this immediate fund and couldn’t wait for state approval.”


The payments for Davies Center had a 20 year plan, so the payments will be fully made in about 18 years.


Counseling Technology


At Monday night’s meeting the Senate also approved a special allocation from the Information Technology fee to pay for Counseling Services’ purchase of a computer program to let students evaluate their own health online.


Students would be able to answer questions regarding their health and  get their results to the Counseling services more quickly.


Christian Paese, director of the information technology commission, said counseling services has seen a marked increase in the number of people coming in, and the technology will streamline the process.


“Their proposal was very clear in the benefits,” Paese said.  “It’s gonna help them get instant feedback from students and help them with their capacity and enable them to at least get students moving through the process a lot quicker.”

Paese said it will give also allow students to see how healthy they are and what the results of stress are, as well as how they can change that on their own.