The Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA) considered the benefits of increasing the student activity fee at their March 16 full senate meeting.
The fee is a component of the Ohio Wesleyan tuition statement. It has not been increased since 2011.
Citing OWU’s current deficit, WCSA president Jerry Lherisson, a junior, told the senators that the administration “needs to make $4 million in cuts in order to have the exact same quality of things we have now.”
In an effort to decrease the financial burden on faculty and staff, whose salaries, health benefits and retirement plans are at stake, WCSA is proposing to cost share with the student affairs division.
This division includes the community service office, the office of multicultural student affairs, Residential Life, the student involvement office, Public Safety, Counseling Services and Health Services.
According to junior Emma Drongowski, vice president of WCSA, “if WCSA were to give some funds to student affairs less cuts would have to be made” across the board.
The money for cost sharing would come from WCSA’s budget, funded by the student activity fee. The options presented on March 16 were to raise the $130 student activity fee to $160 or to $170. The senators could also vote to keep it as is.
According to Lherisson, if the activity fee were increased and money was allocated to the student affairs offices, it would “soften the blow” to the people that make “integral, day to day campus life what it is.” Without an increase, this won’t happen.
Because the budget for the 2015-2016 year will not be finalized until class of 2019 enrollment is set, neither the administration nor WCSA knows how dire the financial picture will be. “Our top four officers are just as frustrated that we can’t give exact numbers and say what is going to be cut,” said Drongowski. But Dean of Students Kimberlie Goldsberry reinforced the point that “whether student government will be able to assist student activity or not…there are going to be cuts.”
WCSA leadership emphasized that these options are being discussed, and that nothing will be decided without the full consent of the senate.
Also mentioned at the full senate meeting were the Golden Bishop winners for the categories of friend of WCSA, best new member and best overall member. Craig Ullom, vice president for student affairs, sophomore Sam Schurer and sophomore Jess Choate won the titles respectively.