Printing, technology fees come under SA fire

The Student Association’s eight-member fee-fighting task force has narrowed its focus to printing, study abroad and campus equipment and room rental costs.

Student Association Executive Vice President Ted Costigan said committee members determined the purpose of the commission – to identify and delegate students to research specific “unreasonable” fees – at its first meeting last week.

The group hopes to create a report of its findings next semester.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said it is difficult to know the last time the printing, study abroad and technology equipment fees were evaluated.

When asked about costs for each program the SA hopes to tackle, Sherrard declined to provide specific information on what each fee covers, saying only that the Gelman Library printing fees offset the cost of printing; study abroad fees account for advising, processing and orientation; and student organization technology and room rental fees go toward staffing and equipment that exceed Academic Technologies base-budget funding. She did not return a request for a further breakdown of the fees.

Student organizations using audio or visual equipment for an event that lasts less than five hours pay $150. The audio fee covers lectern microphone speakers, and the visual fee includes LCD projection, a projection screen and a lectern computer for CDs and DVDs.

Study abroad programs cost an additional $550 to $6,150 per semester, depending on the program.

Students pay 9 cents per page to print at Gelman Library. To print in the Himmelfarb Library or Tompkins Hall, students are charged 7 cents.

Last fall, Senator Charlie Rybak, U-at-Large, led efforts to reduce the fee, claiming it costs the University 3 cents for each page printed. As part of “The Gutenberg Plan,” Rybak urged the University to install 4-cent printers in seven residence halls and academic buildings across campus.

The University of Maryland, Boston University and Washington University in St. Louis charge 10 cents, 8 cents and 4 cents, respectively.

While the task force initially planned to include administrators in the commission, none are involved at this step in the process.

“We don’t see the need to have administrations find out research. That’s not their jobs,” Student Association President John Richardson said.

Sen. Alex Mizenko, SPHHS-U, said he doesn’t anticipate too many roadblocks in the research process.

“There might be resistance from the University in eliminating the fees, but if we have strong research to back our ideas up, I am confident we will be successful,” the junior said.

Richardson emphasized the task force will not limit its efforts to these fees alone, adding the committee will continue to evaluate other University fees to create a master list of charges for future focus.

“This is never going to be completed. This process is ongoing,” Richardson said.

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