Apathy harms campus involvement

Low turnout at student fee panel shows lack of interest.

What is the SFAC? Why should students care? The Student Fee Allocation Committee does exactly what the name suggests.

A panel led by Student Body President Nick Creamer, Vice President for Student Affairs Lori Reesor and two members of the financial office invited students to learn more about the allocation committee at the Loading Dock in the Memorial Union last Thursday.

Every student enrolled at the university, including those who only take online classes and those studying abroad, pay $56.20 per credit hour taken in student fees, which are dispersed throughout the university by the committee. A full-time student pays, on average, $562 per semester to support this fund.

The informative panel should have been a well-attended event last week, but it wasn’t. There were less than 25 people in the audience — not even free pizza could draw a bigger crowd.

We students are paying for specific services and opportunities, and we have a say on where this money goes. But if no one is interested in participating in discussions like last week’s panel, we may as well have no say at all.

Student fees go toward items including but not limited to free or reduced sports tickets, The New York Times readership program, the Memorial Union, the Student Success center, tutoring, and the operational costs of the Wellness Center.

I’m not arguing that the fees are excessive. I’m not even arguing that the money should be allocated in different places. I am concerned about the fact that so few people showed up for a meeting about the money that they spent and are going to spend on school over their college careers.

If you are at the university for four years, you will be paying more than $4,000 in student fees. Some of the places this money goes include the Memorial Union and free or reduced ticket prices to UND sporting events. But one of the largest sectors to which the fees go to is Student Health and Wellness.

One of the main complaints by a couple other students at the meeting was that despite paying the fees, parking passes are an additional cost. The committee described this as a “user fee.”

I have a problem with this rationale. If parking is to be paid only by the users, then why not the sports tickets or the medical services? Again, I completely support these services, but, if we are going use the terminology “user fee,” why are these not in the same boat? Spending $562 in student fees per semester and not having parking included is just ridiculous.

The SFAC is still looking for student feedback and commentary on the allocation of funds.

Get involved, let your voice be heard and let the committee know what you think.

Micah Dewey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at micah.dewey@my.und.edu