Evelyn Reiman discusses how her proposals for fee increases, which she believed necessary to support staffing, buildings, and infrastructure, led to intense relationships with student leaders because of general student opposition.
I think it came about
really in the last third of my career,
and that was when campus became much more-
well when students became much more
hostile toward student fee increases.
That's an area where I can get in my head why there's so much opposition to that,
and where it made it difficult for me
in my role with Talley Student Center
is that that one fee was supporting four buildings,
including utilities, not just staff and programs but utilities.
So we had four buildings, one fee; the oldest building was eighty years old.
The department of insurance had threatened to close it down
because of the fire hazards of it.
So going to bat for student fee increases,
I felt that there were times where
I had to move pretty delicately because the student leaders I was working with,
I mean those were students who were going to be voting on the student fee increase that I had proposed,
and so there was this understandable hostility to any kind of increase,
and at the same time knowing that-.
There was a year where one utility bill went up two hundred and twenty-two percent,
right, so you really got to the point where you were talking about is there a program
or a whole department we're going to eliminate,
or do we cut the lights at a certain time,
because we didn't get any state monies, or very few state monies to support those facilities.
So in terms of student leaders
I don't feel like there were any partings with student leaders,
I mean there were no irreconcilable differences,
but it did sometimes put us in this kind of awkward position
because I knew that they had to take a public position
not only in terms of what they said but in terms of how they cast their votes
and that it was often on something I felt really strongly
we needed to fund or finance
because I felt like the need was significant
and that the consequences of no fee increase were really
to the negative for the student body at whole.
So I would say as student fees and tuition continued to go up
and there became much more of a kind of backlash and adversarial reaction to those increases,
and then I characterize it as the political reality
that the student leaders seemed resigned
that there was no way they were going to be able to impact tuition increases
and so the sense that I had that they would then take all of their focus on student fees,
and there are a lot of student fees
and I'm focused now on the ones that I was championing.
So tuition, they would just kind of be resigned, like, well, it's going to go up no matter what we do,
for the most part, and then over here the fees were-.
You might be in the senate hearings again until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning
where they were grilling you over seventy-five cents.
So that got to be kind of intense. [Laughs]