The Lawrence University Community Council, at their meeting on Thursday Feb. 7, increased the student activity fee by $36 per student per year. The new fee total is now $180.The increase is the largest since the original $90 activity fee was implemented in 1993-94 school year. Since then, the fee was increased in several increments. In 1995, the fee was increased $30 for a total of $120. After several other increases, the fee stood at $144 per student for the 2001-02 school year. The latest increase will go into affect for the 2002-03 school year.
LUCC was given permission to raise the activity fee by the Board of Trustees during their January 2002 meeting.
While there was a large amount of support for the fee increase, not all LUCC representatives expressed unanimous consent to the increase. Trever Hall representative Bill Hannah said that his constituents objected to the increase and actually wanted to decrease the student fee because they believed SOUP was receiving too much money and providing inadequate programming.
LUCC President Chris Worman said that the issue of SOUP’s programming was “neither here nor there.”
The most vocal opponent of increasing the fee at the meeting was President-elect Cole Delaney, who said, “I firmly believe we will be able get away with this [the increase],” but asked the council to consider holding a referendum on the increase rather than just voting.
According to Delaney, there are three answers to the question of whether the activity fee should be increased. The first is “yes,” the students want the increase, second, the student doesn’t care, and third, “no,” because they do not like the way LUCC allocates funds. According to the feeling of constituents expressed by hall representatives, most students seemed to not care.
Delaney stressed that if the students do not care about the increase one way or the other, LUCC is not doing their job. “We should be wondering why more people don’t say ‘yes’,” said Delaney. Delaney then asked the council why they would not want to hold a referendum.
In response, David Cherner of the Finance Committee said that Delaney answered his own question as to why they should not hold a referendum on the fee increase, “… because no one cares, and no one wants to care.”
If a referendum were held, the activity fee increase would not have been implementable until the 2003-04 school year.
Proponents of the fee increase say that it will allow LUCC to fund campus programs more adequately, including student publications, which have continuously run deficits.
The fee increase passed with 10 voting ‘yes’, two ‘no’, and two abstentions.
Other business discussed included recognizing Amnesty International as Lawrence club and giving the LU Ninjitsu club $600 for a protective body suit to be used in teaching self-defense.
Also discussed was the distribution of tickets to The Vagina Monologues which will be performed here later this month. The V-Day club had originally asked for funding from the council, but because LU students also have to buy tickets to the show, LUCC decided allocating funds would be double-charging students.
Instead, LUCC purchased 170 tickets to be given away to Lawrence students by the V-Day group. However, LUCC did not specifically say how the tickets should be distributed. The V-Day group chose to sell buy one get one free tickets at Downer two nights as the way to distribute the free tickets. LUCC council members felt this violated the spirit in which they intended the tickets to be distributed.
Finance Committee held a special meeting on Tuesday with members of the V-Day group to express their concerns. No official resolution was reached.
Paul Shrode also requested that Delaney have his cabinet recommendations selected by the seventh week of this term.