Major fees — staff editorial

GW plans to charge students in the School of Media and Public Affairs $2,000 to help cover the costs of the new state-of-the-art SMPA building, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2000.

With the high price of tuition, GW students should expect adequate classroom space and quality facilities. Charging an extra fee to SMPA majors for the use of the new building sets a bad precedent. GW already plans on charging GW students an extra fee for the construction of the Health and Wellness Center.

Even though the fees seem relatively small compared to tuition, fees add up. Students may be discouraged from enrolling in SMPA majors – journalism, electronic media and political communication – simply because of the $2,000 fee.

Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president for Academic Planning and Special Projects, compared the planned SMPA fee to a similar fee that the University charges to graduate students in the Elliott School of International Affairs. Other students besides SMPA majors will use the SMPA building, so charging a fee to only SMPA majors seems unfair.

That’s not to mention that undergraduates already pay thousands of dollars in tuition to cover teaching and classroom educational expenses. Shouldn’t SMPA students’ tuition already afford them the right to use the new building? What are they paying for?

If GW were to follow the same logic, shouldn’t students who take classes in the Thurston Hall piano lounge or the School Without Walls receive a rebate? They are not using University classroom space.

Charging students fees for the new facilities in which they will learn is bad policy. GW is one university, and undergraduates share its facilities, so charging fees based on the school in which a student studies in is unfair.

GW students should expect quality facilities without an extra charge.

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