Student Opinion of Life Fee VariesBy Alice N. Gilchrist
Karl R. Peters '95 summed up most undergraduates' opinions of the student life fee when he said, "It sounds okay."
A referendum was held April 23 and 24 to assess student views on what the proposed student life fee should cover. Students were asked to indicate their opinion on several issues, including whether athletic cards should be eliminated. Another question asked whether administrators or students should control the money available for student activities.
Students voted strongly in favor of the student life fee and gave less enthusiastic support to paying the athletic fee. Undergraduate Association President Stacy McGeever said the UA will not "hold the results as any kind of mandate," but added that they are "an indicator of student opinion."
Provost Mark S. Wrighton said he supported student control of activity funds. "I support students enhancing resources according to their desires," Wrighton said. Wrighton noted he had not been told that the referendum had occurred, however.
Students voiced their biggest concerns about the athletic services fee, which would automatically be charged to all undergraduates if the fee proposal is enacted. The fee would eliminate the need for athletic cards. Oliver Schneider '95 said, "Some students don't want to use athletic facilities and I am against them having to pay for a card." Schneider added that he liked the idea of a student life fee, but that it shouldn't be mandatory.
Judy C. Pang '94 also didn't think the athletic card should be included in the fee. "I wouldn't want to pay the fee because I don't use an athletic card," she said. Pang thought that buying an athletic card should be "up to students themselves."
Some members of the UA thought that including the athletic card in the fee would be beneficial. Yevgeny Gurevich '94, a UA Next House representative, said the fee would "solve the problem of students who don't pay the current fee taking advantage of other people" who pay the fee. About 3,000 people buy an athletic card, but about 1,000 people cheat the system and use the facilities without paying. Gurevich added that the fee would "get rid of a lot of paperwork and hassle" and that "everything will come out fair in the end."
Some students were in favor of paying for the athletic card. Alexandra Pau '95 said that since "during the course of a year, most people" use the athletic facilities, it is not unreasonable for "everyone to pay the fee." She added that the fee should not be too expensive and that "20 to 30 dollars" seemed fair.
Students find results representative
Even though only 15 percent of all undergraduates voted in the referendum, most students felt that the results were representative. Peters said the results were "completely" viable, even though he felt the referendum was "not well advertised." He said he saw the voting booth in Lobby 7 and thought to himself, "Hey! We're voting on something."
According to New House UA representative Gregory M. Lubiniecki '94, the referendum results were representative of student opinion since "those who felt strongly would have voted." The UA will "keep in mind that not very many students voted," he said.
Gurevich said that while he was manning the voting booth, a lot of students "looked quickly and left" without voting. "They knew about the issue, but they didn't have time to vote," he said.
Some students also had strong feelings about students being more involved in the distribution of funding to student activities. Peters said he wants students to have a say about where their money goes, but he hoped there would be some administrative advisors on the committee, so that the activities funding would occur through a combination of student and faculty input.