The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student services faces budget cuts

Proponents of the proposed fee hikes voted down last week are predicting dire budget cutbacks for student services.
Students overwhelmingly rejected increases in the Recreation Sports fee (69 percent against), Student Service fee (79 percent against) and the computer service fee (51 percent against) in a Feb. 26-27 referendum.
Gabby Oroza, chair of the Student Fee Advisory Board, said despite the referendum, the fee would still be raised by a small amount. The fee, which stands at $142 a semester, requires student approval to exceed the $150 threshold, but University officials can raise it to less than that amount without student approval. Oroza said Vice President for Student Affairs J. Malon Southerland would likely raise the fee.
Oroza also blamed student ignorance and a general revolt against fee increases for the rejection of the student service fee hike.
“I don’t think students even bothered to read the ballot before voting no,” said Oroza, a senior psychology major. “Its a complicated issue, and students were just misinformed.”
Dennis Corrington, director of the recreation sports department, blamed the defeat on what he called a misinformation campaign by The Battalion, and the Graduate Student Council, which passed a resolution urging a no-vote on the fee increase.
“[Fee opponents] were not interested in an honest discussion of the issue, but in misrepresenting what we were trying to do,” Corrington said.
Among the projects that would have been funded by increasing the fee from $78 per semester to $88 was a $4 million doubling of the size of the weight and fitness room in the Rec Center, a $5 million expansion of Penberthy Intramural Sports Center, and pay raises for the department’s student workers.
Unlike past fee proposals, in which the department spent as much as $2,000 for campaigning, this year only $500 was set aside to promote the fee, although the department also devoted some of its regular advertisement buys in The Battalion to promoting the fee, Corrington said.
Corrington said he will bring the fee increase to a referendum next year.
“We need to raise the fee or seriously cut back on services,” Corrington said.
The department is already dipping into its $5 million reserve fund to cover budget shortfalls, Corrington said. Cutbacks are likely next year, he said, although no budget decisions have been made yet.
Erin Eckhart, election commissioner for the Student Government Association, said the only other defeat of a fee increase in the past 10 years was in 1996, when students rejected a hike in the University Center fee.

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