Invalid fee should be given back to students

When U students paid their fees this fall, most didn’t know they were helping fill a nearly $40,000 pit.

In March, the U Board of Trustees voted to approve a $1.34 per semester increase to the publication fee. The increase was supposed to fund the creation of a new Student Media Council by merging the Broadcast and Publication councils with Public Relations and the Advertising Council. The new council would have also created a new student media advocate position, which would help oversee campus media outlets. However, the media advocate was removed from the latest draft of the council’s policies and procedures.

Unfortunately, while the trustees were prepared to vote on the fee designed to fund the new council, the methods and procedures drafted to govern the council weren’t completed and could not be put to a vote. Instead, the trustees voted on the fee alone before they actually had a chance to read the details governing the council it was meant to fund. Rather than wait another year to vote on the fee, the trustees chose to pass the measure contingent on the Media Council passing in its April meeting.

But though the council didn’t pass in the April meeting8212;the trustees tabled it until fall8212;students were still charged the fee this semester, an amount just short of $40,000. Basically, fall students paid to fund a council that doesn’t exist, with a fee that isn’t supposed to exist, considering it was contingent on the council passing in the first place. The fee is sitting untouched and useless in a segregated university account.

Randy Dryer, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said the increase to the publication fee would have been approved even if there were no plans to create a new Media Council, albeit a smaller increase would be more likely. But regardless of other possible motivations, no one can dodge the fact that, according to the Trustee vote, in order for the fee increase to be valid, the Media Council had to be passed. Because it didn’t, the fee is invalid.

Instead of sitting on almost $40,000 of locked student fees with no destination, the U should return the money to students, considering it shouldn’t have been collected in the first place. On top of that, the fee should be suspended indefinitely until the fate of the Media Council is decided.

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