Proposed Technology Fee Adds Salt to Financial Wounds

By Wafa Ben Hassine, President, Associated Students

Several students from the Associated Students met with Christine Bagwell, the Associate Director of Academic Computing & Media Services, and Debbie McGraw from the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, on Jan. 14, 2011, to discuss the proposed “Instructional Technology” fee. Following the meeting, we reviewed the proposal and agreed to not support the implementation of the proposed fee.

The Associated Students, as official representatives of the UCSD undergraduate population, are strongly against the instructional technology fee for three fundamental reasons: the audacity to administer a new fee given the current student financial condition, the lack of statistics to justify the technological changes and a lack of student representation in the drafting of the proposal.

First, given the current circumstances, the UC Board of Regents already cut $500 million from the UC budget and have raised “education fees” by 8 percent this year and 32 percent the year prior. Demanding another fee from students is adding salt to the wound. Therefore, not only does ASUCSD fundamentally disagree with such a proposal, but is especially troubled with its timing. With the current fee hikes, students today are struggling to simply make ends meet.

Second, “Instructional Technology” suggests that students desire technological changes on campus, yet no such hard data or studies have been presented to support such a claim. The proposal does not provide any assessment of the current condition of technological systems on our campus, and fails to provide a clear financial breakdown of how they would allocate the funds received from students. Students should not and cannot afford to be treated as an unlimited source of funding.

Third, if the instructional technology fee were to pass, it would be the first time in UCSD history that students would be charged based upon the number of academic units taken. We believe that this would open up a Pandora’s box of issues for students.

Fees such as the one proposed will significantly impact students’ financial condition if they decide to take more units. Although we agree with the Committee on Educational Policy and Courses’ assessment that student-based fees should not be used to fund instructional support services, the Associated Students further disagrees with any gradual introduction of the fee.

We cannot support any new fees unless we have the opportunity to vote and unless we are presented with a specific budget detailing the exact distribution of student fees. Students and faculty share the concern that if this proposal passes, it will inevitably lead to the implementation of more fees through methods that lack student representation.

Students resent the idea that a proposal requiring their own funds was drafted without any student input, and would be further imposed without a student vote.

This proposal bypasses the direct voice of the students and attempts to impose fees in an indirect and unaccountable fashion. We ask that in recognition of the financial hardships students are undergoing, such fees would be proposed only with the consent of those paying for it.


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