President Scott disappointed in SGA fee decision

| Robin Siteneski reporter |

The Student Government Association slashed a $9 proposed increase in student fees for the Athletics Department to $1 at their meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
Steve Scott, university president, learned of the news while watching the Pittsburg State women’s basketball team defeat Emporia State in John Lance Arena that night, 81-75.
“Honestly, I was shocked by this outcome and disappointed as well,” he said. “Interestingly, I had just watched the Gorilla women play their hearts out to beat the No. 3 team in the nation. In other words, I had just seen our student athletes at their very best.
“My first thought was that our student athletes deserve better. While I don’t know anything about the discussion that preceded the vote, I’ll be looking into it as soon as tomorrow. I can’t imagine what information and opinions SGA considered that led to such a dramatically different recommendation from the Athletics Fee Council’s figure of $9.
“I want to review any materials they considered in terms of accuracy and relevance to the vote. … The setting of tuition and fees is a complicated process that involves a great deal of input and consideration, and I have always respected the role SGA plays in this process.”
Taylor Gravett, SGA president, responded, emphasizing that he supported the original $9 increase.
“I would just say that SGA understands that fees are a complicated process as well,” he said. “In committee, I voted for the $9 increase. The power that I have only goes so far. Ultimately, the final decision doesn’t lie with us. This is not something I would have supported but it is something the senate did and we have to move forward from that.”
The decision is not final, as it will go before Scott and the President’s Council, along with all other student fee adjustments.
Discussion on this fee started last week and took a good part of this week’s meeting. The $9 figure was approved by the Athletic Fee Council by a 4-2 vote.
A 6 percent projected increase in tuition next year served as the basis for the $9 figure, in addition to the Athletics Department’s request for equipment and other funding.
Senators rejected proposals to not increase the fee at all and another to increase it by $4.50.
The budget for the Athletics Department this year is $2,925,395, about $1.75 million of which comes from student fees. During the discussion, senators’ main concern was the maintenance of athletics scholarships. That would require at least a $1.50 increase.
The amount of $1 was suggested by Tadd Lucian, SGA legislative affairs director. He said he is sure, however, that the President’s Council will increase the amount.
Sen. Austin Leake, who is a former football player for Pittsburg State, voted for the $1 increase. He said the department has been getting student fee increases for the last seven years and it’s time for the department to start looking for other sources of revenue.
“They need the funds, but they need to look for other ways to get them other than student fees,” he said.
The group also approved a $4 student fee increase to fund Bryant Student Health Center. Student activity fees may be raised by $3 if SGA approves it in the next meeting.
A measure to impeach Gravett, Lucian, Kiki Eigenmann, SGA vice president and Sen. Sydney Lemos over lasting controversy from SGA’s Higher Ed Day visit to the state capital in Topeka on Feb. 4 received only one vote in favor and was summarily defeated.

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