Students need a Christmas gift

By Matthew Hunt

February 18, 2013

Even before students go on break they are expected to pay Student Success Act fees for the second time as they enroll in the spring 2013 semester. Full-time students will pay another $75, part-time will pay $50 and summer will pay $25 on top of what they pay for tuition. If you will remember, the act was created for the sole purpose to help the university in times of financial crisis. It just seems odd when Missouri Western is exceeding their budget in revenues by more than $7.4 million for the past three years, that we would have to worry about the students paying into the Student Success Act yet again. The cost of attending a four-year university is enough of a burden on the shoulders of students. Students pay for classes, books, supplies, room and board and other necessities to make it possible to survive college. Western is building up their reserves by raiding student’s wallets. Forcing students to pay into the success act again when reserves are at a ten-year high seems wrong. The Student Success Act is not necessary when this university is financially well off. Administration should stop charging student’s accounts in the 2013 spring semester for the Student Success Act. The Student Government Association who created the act should have made an escape clause. The president of the SGA and five members of administration signed the original act.  Changes to the act may have to be approved by all five members of the administration and the SGA president again. The administration originally lead SGA into this act by painting a bleak future if the act didn’t pass. The fear was that the state was going to cut funding by 12.5 percent. Administration threatened to cut five departments of student services. Not only did those cuts never happen, but also the state sent an additional $500,000. When the Griffon News asked the SGA and administration “What if the state funding cuts do not happen?” when the act was being considered, the response was, “the cuts are going to happen.” Evidently none of those involved in the creation of the act thought of an escape clause should the cuts not happen. It looks like the administration was taking advantage of the SGA by not suggesting an escape clause. If the shoe was on the other foot, the administration would probably have insisted on an escape clause. In fact, then Vice President of Financial Planning Mel Klinkner said that if the act had a sunset clause, he would have to consider cutting student services as if the act didn’t exist. If the administration is guilty of manipulating the SGA, then shame on them. The best way to correct their behavior is to not collect the student fee when the state doesn’t cut funding or when profits exceed a million dollars. It just seems that the student government was played into a deal, which in turn created expenses for the entire student body. It’s tough enough for students to pay for school. It’s time for the SGA to work with the administration to find a way for these fees to be eliminated until the university should find itself in poorer financial shape. The students deserve a gracious Christmas present when they return for the spring semester, and this would be one way the university could give back to its students. If there is not a reprieve, this fee needs to go to a student vote. The issue is, if Western is very profitable some years, then the fee should not be collected. If administration threatens to cut student services after the student vote, the students may have to take it to the governor and let him decide if Western needs the money or not.