Opposition to Student Fees

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.

Interview on 2012-04-26

Transcript

00:00:00.000 I think it came about
00:00:04.259 really in the last third of my career,
00:00:08.255 and that was when campus became much more-
00:00:16.510 well when students became much more
00:00:19.919 hostile toward student fee increases.
00:00:24.683 That's an area where I can get in my head why there's so much opposition to that,
00:00:32.393 and where it made it difficult for me
00:00:36.823 in my role with Talley Student Center
00:00:39.233 is that that one fee was supporting four buildings,
00:00:43.397 including utilities, not just staff and programs but utilities.
00:00:48.379 So we had four buildings, one fee; the oldest building was eighty years old.
00:00:53.802 The department of insurance had threatened to close it down
00:00:58.280 because of the fire hazards of it.
00:01:01.933 So going to bat for student fee increases,
00:01:08.668 I felt that there were times where
00:01:14.317 I had to move pretty delicately because the student leaders I was working with,
00:01:19.083 I mean those were students who were going to be voting on the student fee increase that I had proposed,
00:01:24.790 and so there was this understandable hostility to any kind of increase,
00:01:29.954 and at the same time knowing that-.
00:01:34.045 There was a year where one utility bill went up two hundred and twenty-two percent,
00:01:39.716 right, so you really got to the point where you were talking about is there a program
00:01:44.442 or a whole department we're going to eliminate,
00:01:46.712 or do we cut the lights at a certain time,
00:01:51.010 because we didn't get any state monies, or very few state monies to support those facilities.
00:01:57.098 So in terms of student leaders
00:02:00.100 I don't feel like there were any partings with student leaders,
00:02:06.084 I mean there were no irreconcilable differences,
00:02:09.387 but it did sometimes put us in this kind of awkward position
00:02:13.105 because I knew that they had to take a public position
00:02:17.248 not only in terms of what they said but in terms of how they cast their votes
00:02:21.106 and that it was often on something I felt really strongly
00:02:25.496 we needed to fund or finance
00:02:28.165 because I felt like the need was significant
00:02:31.949 and that the consequences of no fee increase were really
00:02:36.241 to the negative for the student body at whole.
00:02:39.403 So I would say as student fees and tuition continued to go up
00:02:45.375 and there became much more of a kind of backlash and adversarial reaction to those increases,
00:02:51.437 and then I characterize it as the political reality
00:02:56.818 that the student leaders seemed resigned
00:03:00.768 that there was no way they were going to be able to impact tuition increases
00:03:04.722 and so the sense that I had that they would then take all of their focus on student fees,
00:03:10.008 and there are a lot of student fees
00:03:12.902 and I'm focused now on the ones that I was championing.
00:03:16.511 So tuition, they would just kind of be resigned, like, well, it's going to go up no matter what we do,
00:03:22.323 for the most part, and then over here the fees were-.
00:03:25.727 You might be in the senate hearings again until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning
00:03:30.899 where they were grilling you over seventy-five cents.
00:03:33.767 So that got to be kind of intense. [Laughs]