Joey Coleman: New Fee At U of M

New Fee At U of M

While, this afternoon, I ran my website statistics and noticed that my University Administration, and Public Relations people were all over my website. (Between 1pm – 2:30 I had 20 visits from Admin and PR.) I was wondering what was going on?
Turns out they have imposed a new fee:

UTech Fee
The U of M has implemented a technology fee (UTech fee) starting in Summer Session 2005. The fee in Summer Session is $25 per registered student (the fee will also be applicable in regular session but at differing rates). The UTech fee will be used to upgrade building networks and equip classrooms with the latest technology, as well as install wireless networks in common areas. These upgrades will ultimately result in improved teaching and learning experiences at the University.

I have tried to find out when the Board of Governors approved this fee increase because all fee increases are supposed to be approved by the Board. I have not been able to find this. It could exist and I just could not find it. I have heard that for regular session this fee will be $110 for 30 credit hours. I do not have a solid figure has the University has not made it public on the website yet. Actually, the University went out of their way to quietly do this.
Now where do I stand on the fee?
If the University uses this fee plus the $60 extra fee for resident students to actually install internet in residence then I am in favour of it. It will be cheaper than getting a phone line and dial-up internet. Not only that, the University claims they will be using this to place wireless in common areas. But since the new wireless technology has much greater range, they should be able to make the entire campus a hot-spot. If they use the money to support Student Computing, I am in favour of it. If they use this money for Administration, then I am opposed.
What do I want the University to do?
Simple, START WORKING WITH STUDENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So many problems and concerns would be solved if they worked with students to implement things instead of trying to hide things and hope we do not notice. Come on Admin, we are your University’s students. If you do not have confidence in us, why should employees? This attempt to hide new fees is unacceptable and saddens me. I was one of the few UMSU Council members who is open to fee increases provided the increases go into things that help students. This fee appears at first glance to be good because if it is invested into student computing it will improve the campus for students. Yet the Ivory Tower (The slang term on campus for Administration since they have their own building which is on the highest point of land on campus) is trying to hide the fee which leads me to believe that it is just another cash grab.
Look, students are now going to pay an extra $2,750,000 a year plus the $60,000 that resident students will pay on top of that, students want to know where these millions of dollars are going.
So, will Administration use the money from students to benefit students? or will they use it to benefit themselves?
In summary, I am not opposed to the idea provided that it is not another cash cow for Administration but I do not trust Administration to not make it a cash cow.
On a last note, I will not be updating my blog until Saturday afternoon.