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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Fees, graduation changes discussed”

    Graduate and undergraduate students support a proposed student affairs fee, according to the results of a survey presented at last night’s Graduate and Professional Student Council meeting.

    On average, the 721 graduate student participants in the survey proposed a $43 annual student affairs fee on top of existing student fees. They indicated they would like the proposed fee to pay for travel grants, Safe Ride transportation and security enhancements.

    A total of 2,490 undergraduates indicated that, on average, they’d favor a $47 annual fee to pay for a wider variety of on-campus food menu options, Safe Ride transportation and improvements to the Student Union Memorial Center.

    GPSC representatives conducted a show of hands to determine who in attendance had taken the survey under the impression that the proposed fee would be required annually and not every semester. Less than half indicated they knew when taking the survey that the fee would be incurred every semester.

    Melissa Vito, vice president of student affairs, proposed a $50 per semester student affairs fee, said GPSC president Catherine Neish, an optical sciences doctoral student. That fee is twice the amount favored by some of the GPSC members.

    The discussion then turned into a philosophical debate over the merits of fees. Most in attendance indicated their support for raising tuition and doing away with fees all together.

    This prompted GPSC Secretary Jacob Knutson to say that fees are necessary to ensure money is allocated properly.

    “”Fees go into a special revenue fund, instead of the general fund, to make sure that certain priorities actually do get funded at the level that they should be,”” Knutson said.

    Commencement restructuring proposed

    GPSC members also weighed in on three proposals for modifications to the graduation commencement ceremony.

    UA President Robert Shelton met with various officials involved in commencement planning last May in the interest of improving the behavior of students and guests at UA commencement ceremonies, Neish said.

    As a result of that meeting, three proposed, exclusive changes to the commencement ceremony were drafted.

    The first change would split commencements into separate graduate and undergraduate ceremonies, received overwhelming support from the GPSC.

    The undergraduate event would be held in the morning, Neish said, so students would have less time to get drunk before the ceremony.

    The second change would move commencement ceremonies to the Tucson Convention Center to accommodate more guests.

    The third change would move ceremonies to Arizona Stadium, which has a seating capacity of about 56,000.

    Other options included confining ceremonies to weekdays, which would save tens of thousands of dollars in UA Facilities Management overtime charges, according to a Sept. 26 commencement ceremony draft proposal.

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