The Maneater

Breaking down the proposed $35 student fee

The largest portions of the proposed student activities fee to go toward expanded counseling staff and library hours.

Beginning March 6, students will vote on a student services fee, also known as Enhance Mizzou, proposed by the Missouri Student Association. The semesterly fee is $2.91 per credit hour, with a maximum of $35 for a full-time undergraduate. For graduate and professional students, the maximum fee will be $26.19 per semester.

The fee will go towards six different areas. Under a fee of $35 per student, Ellis Library would receive $12, the Counseling Center would receive $8, and the Student Unions will get $5. Also, $5 will go towards technology, $2.50 will go to campus activities and $2.50 to leadership service programs.

The Student Unions will use their portion of the fee to improve technology in study rooms at the Student Center, potentially adding Smart Boards or plasma screens with Skype capabilities, as well as general maintenance of study spaces. They also plan to install more routers in Memorial Union and the Student Center to improve Wi-Fi connectivity and speed.

There’ll also be $5.00 going to technology as a whole, which will be given to the Division of Information Technology. DoIT will also use their portion of the money to improve W-Fi and technology throughout campus. They will also spend some of the money on the Print Anywhere system.

“When we built the student center in 2010, we knew that students were using phones and computers and wireless, but we did not anticipate the heavy usage of streaming media,” said Michelle Froese, assistant director of strategic communications for Student and Auxiliary Services. “It’s prevalent in how you study.”

More printers will also be purchased for the Student Center.

“I constantly hear students talking about losing their stuff on the printer because it’s lost in a stack of other things,” Froese said.

The largest part of the fee, which Ellis Library would receive, would go to keeping the library open 24 hours, five days a week. They’ll also put money toward collections and resources, extending specialized library hours to meet student demand and improving technology and student study spaces.

After last year’s library fee didn’t pass and 5 percent budget cuts were made campuswide, Ellis was forced to cut back from its former closing time of 2 a.m. to its current closing time of midnight.

“That’s why MSA and student affairs came up with the student activity fee because of the student interest that they were seeing, such as the petition that was online and the GoFundMe campaign that was in the fall when the hours were cut,” said libraries spokeswoman Shannon Cary.

The library will consider feedback from the University Libraries Student Advisory Committee in its decisions.

“I think we were all excited to see that the students were so invested in libraries and that in the fall that they showed so much interest in the libraries,” Cary said. “We actually got a ton of feedback about the hours from students and from parents. When Student Affairs and MSA worked on a student activity fee, we were just very happy to see that they wanted to support the libraries.”

The Counseling Center would use their portion of the fee to hire new staff members, expand outreach and prevention services and maintain access to crisis services.

The center currently employs 14 full-time psychologists or counselors, a part-time social worker, six graduate students and several interns. With the fee, they would be able to hire three additional licensed psychologists and a support staff member. The additional staff would allow the Counseling Center to provide 15 more hours per week of clinical service.

“Our staff is holding steady and our student demand is going up,” said Christy Hutton, assistant director for outreach and prevention at the MU Counseling Center.

The wait time at the counseling center ranges depending on the time of year, but it can be up to five weeks. The Counseling Center would like their waiting periods to not be any more than two weeks for a student who is not in a crisis situation.

“We sometimes have a waitlist for students to get in, and that’s not really acceptable,” Hutton said. “I don’t know if the increased fees would staff us high enough to never have that problem. It would certainly impact that and lower the wait time.”

They would also use the money to provide ongoing training for staff members.

“We can continue to provide cutting edge...best-practice care and stay abreast of that and not get dated,” Hutton said. “We also can continue to grow in our cultural competency so we’re meeting our whole campus in ways that are really meaningful and helpful.”

MSA budget chairman Jack Blevins said the $2.50 designated for campus activities will be given to the Department of Student Activities and be used to fund programs such as Mizzou After Dark, Summer Welcome and additional summer programming.

The $2.50 for leadership service programs will be given to the Department of Student Life. This money will go to programs such as Venture Out and Mizzou Alternative Breaks. The majority of the MAB money would provide scholarships for students who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend trips. It will also go towards funding a new program called Emerging Leaders, which is a leadership development workshop.

Voting on the fee lasts from March 6 to 8.

Edited by Madi McVan | mmcvan@themaneater.com

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