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A&S fee could remain the same in 2013-14

Still from video by Ryan Thompson
The Student Fee Assessment Committee hears from UNF Health Promotion, the UNF Counseling Center and UNF Student Government.

Two UNF entities requested fee increases today at the UNF Student Fee Assessment Committee meeting, while Student Government broke a six-year streak of requesting an increase to the Activity and Service fee.

Should the UNF Board of Trustees approve the 2013-14 budget without the increase in the A&S fee, the fee would remain $14.47.

Michael McGuire, the SG business director, said he, Student Body President Carlo Fassi and Student Body Treasurer Billy Namen decided to not request an increase to the A&S fee for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

McGuire said the amount of money available in the budget will decrease next year because students are taking fewer credit hours.

So, SG will dive into its own budget, he said.

McGuire’s announcement surprised Bobby Waldrup, the associate provost of UNF Academic Affairs. Waldrup asked Fassi why SG would not request an increase.

Fassi said he is in the position to request what SG needs. He said the unused money that rolls into the SG fund balance yearly reaches in the hundred thousands.

SG allocates the A&S fee to on-campus entities, such as Osprey Productions, the LGBT Resource Center and the Center for Student Media.

At McGuire’s announcement, Deborah Kaye, the associate vice president of UNF Enrollment Services, and Karen Patterson, the department chair of exceptional student and deaf education, clapped.

Although SG will not seek an increase, UNF Health Promotion and the UNF Counseling Center proposed increases to the committee.

Shelly Purser, the director of UNF Health Promotion, requested a 10-cent increase on Health Promotion’s behalf to fully fund the UNF Ogier Gardens.

The increase would cover student staff salaries, cultural costs, equipment and vehicle maintenance, and marketing and education materials, according to Purser’s proposal.

Currently, the Student Life and Service fee funds the organic garden, which includes four salaried student staff. The money Health Promotion requested last year funds Carmen Franz, the garden coordinator.

Shari Shuman, the vice president of administration and finance at UNF, said the 10-cent increase would charge students for Health Promotion twice. But Christine Malek, UNF Student Affairs’ divisional budget officer, said the additional charge would free up other funds for Health Promotion.

Shuman said Health Promotion also receives funding from the UNF Foundation, a nonprofit that allocates money donated to UNF.

Rene Monteagudo, the director of the UNF Counseling Center, requested a 6-cent increase in the Counseling Center fee for staffing funds, which would give additional hours to the part-time psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Monteagudo requested the increase because of a particular need in the center’s psychiatric services.

He said in 2009, the center saw an 11-day wait for psychiatric appointments and now sees a 27-day wait. Monteagudo said he wants to cut that waiting time in half — from about five weeks to about two weeks.

To his request, Shuman recommended the center go to the Auxiliary Oversight Committee for additional funds.

She said all members in the Student Fee Assessment Committee agree about the importance of students’ mental health.

The committee will reconvene Nov. 8 to hear from the UNF Disability Resource Center, UNF Athletics and the Transportation and Access fee.

Email Ryan Thompson at [email protected]

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