Fitness fees – Staff editorial

The health and wellness center has been touted for many years as the panacea for the problems that plague the Smith Center. After numerous hearings, revised proposals and delays, the ceremonial groundbreaking for the wellness center finally took place in February. If construction goes according to plans, students will walk through the wellness center’s doors Nov. 15, 2000.

But now comes word that all students enrolled when the wellness center opens will be charged a maximum of $112.50 per semester to help cover the center’s cost – regardless of whether they will actually use it. The fee should come as no surprise – a student fee was always part of the plans. But the amount is exorbitant, higher than fees at some area fitness centers.

It is impossible to spend millions of dollars constructing a building such as the health and wellness center without charging some sort of users’ fee. In the Student Association office, there is already talk of introducing legislation to make the $112.50 fee optional because all students will be charged, even if they never use the wellness center. That sort of logic would mean students could pick and choose what University services and groups they want their student fees to go toward. If a couple of students believe the SA or Program Board does absolutely nothing beneficial for them, should they have the option of not paying that part of the student fee?

Instead, student leaders should do a quick survey of what fitness centers in the area offer their members and at what cost. Then they could present their research to University administrators as evidence of why GW is charging too much for similar services.

The health and wellness center will be a wonderful addition to campus. While it is fair for the University to require students to bear part of the cost, charging them a well-toned arm and a leg is not.

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