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Fee Increase = More E-Days

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Written by Kit Pfeiffer

Posted on 06 April 2014

As some readers no doubt know, USG voted unanimously to increase student fees to $100 during a joint operating meeting. The fee increase passed despite a unanimous no vote from the smaller GSG delegation. This extremely unusual split highlights how out of touch and self interested GSG has become.

I am the President of the Mines Activities Council (MAC) and this semester, for the first time, MAC has been added as a voting member of USG. In fact, every governing body on campus has been added as full members of the council. Additionally, budget committee, which used to control all fee allocation, has been disbanded so that the entire USG council has a voice in allocating student funds to student groups.

MAC is the recipient of the largest allocation on campus (~$210,000 last year). The small council of 9 students is responsible for planning and executing entertainment programs for the entire student body including both undergraduate and graduate students indiscriminately. We are responsible for all of E-Days, Homecoming, movie nights, comedians, special events, and off-campus activities. All of those programs are limited by budget and we spend considerable time seeking outside financial support (we have already taken in over $100,000 this year outside of our allocation). Unlike any other club on campus, we do not require membership for any one of our events and we program targeting every single student possible.

When we have events that lack attendance, the majority of the time the cause can be attributed to lack of awareness on campus for the event. When students attend our events they largely enjoy them but we can always do better, we can always reach more, and this often requires additional funding.

The $6 increase to student fees enacted by the joint meeting between USG and GSG will benefit student groups on campus. The group poised to reap the largest benefit will be MAC, and by definition, the students of Mines. Unfortunately, MAC was only present at the joint session for the final vote as it was scheduled during our regular weekly meeting. If we had predicted the derision that occurred at the meeting we certainly would have liked to have been present and voiced our opinion that this fee increase, if allocated as it has been in the past, will greatly benefit the less involved.

GSG's opinions that the raise was arbitrary and nondescript as to its destination are fair. $6 does not make up for the allocation requests not met last year and the new monies were not earmarked for certain clubs (as much as we want it to go to MAC). The increase, as MAC understands it, was lessened to ease the burden on individual students and not earmarked in order to be consistent with the USG allocation process.

GSG's stark opposition to the fee increase is understood by my council; however, we feel that such a position is detrimental to the campus community and displays a singular mindset of the organization to oppose the out-of-the-classroom activities at Mines. Hopefully their votes are not representative of the greater graduate student population at CSM who have often vocalized their support for E-Days, MAC and everything we do. Our unofficial motto is "making Mines bearable, for a 1-2 hours each week." We would like to add another hour, but that costs money and we are extremely grateful to the USG council for supporting our efforts.

Comments 

#1
Michael Riederer 08 April 2014
Hi Kit,

I am a graduate student who has served with GSG (Graduate Student Government) over the past two years as CBE department rep and Social Chair. Let me explain my personal view why GSG decided, set-in-stone before the joint meeting, to oppose fee increases:

First, graduate students have already been undergraduates before. I understand the fun of Mines Activity Council events (and E-Days), but many graduate students are disinterested in it. I, for one, did not go to a single E-Days event and had a great weekend skiing. Why, if I don't go to E-Days, don't attend MAC events, and am not in a club, would I vote to increase student fees?

Second, you might say that I should do all of these things. However, my academic life is focused on my research at the moment. Luckily, as a PhD student I am funded by a national grant. This money is taxpayer dollars and is purposed for research. Each dollar of a fee increase is a dollar taken from my lab.
#2
Michael Riederer 08 April 2014
Third, as a student who has organized social events for the graduate student body, I can understand this from your perspective. Your increased fees will increase club involvement, social events, and general fun at Mines. However, GSG events are doing fine on cash. As a fiscally responsible student organization it's not our place to have an extravagant number of events. Here's why: not all students participate and not all are in favor of fee increases to fund more events. I was surprised during the meeting that not one undergraduate opposed a fee increase. Does that mean that all undergraduate students want fees to go up? No! It might mean that USG and/or MAC does not ghttp://www.oredigger.net/opinion/9-opinion/3330-fee-increase--more-e-days.html#ive a good representation of the students who pay their own way to college.
#3
Michael Riederer 08 April 2014
* ignore the URL


In conclusion, I gave you 3 reasons why we opposed the new $5.40 fee. Also, it could have bought me something nice for the lab.

Please stop your ridiculous defamation of GSG. We're a good organization. Who are you to try to break up the campus community? It's not us.


-Mike
#4
Jason Barters 09 April 2014
Did you just plagiarize an article from two weeks ago? Your first paragraph is exactly the same as from the opinion article "Why GSG Voted Against the Fee Increase" but with the third to last word changed.

http://oredigger.net/opinion/9-opinion/3287-why-gsg-voted-against-the-fee-increase-and-why-gsg-was-right.html

I am very disappointed that one of our students would not think about the implications of lifting from another article. I graduated in May of 2012 and have enjoyed the work of this publication both in and out of school, but when I see this kind of behavior it reflects poorly on MAC for conducting themselves in this manner and the Oredigger for not checking their content beforehand.
#5
Michael Riederer 09 April 2014
No, I haven't read that article yet. Thanks for letting me know; I feel out of the loop but didn't plagiarize anything. I guess we feel the same way.

-mike
#6
Michael Riederer 09 April 2014
Oh, now I got your comment after reading the initial article. You were definitely not talking to me.

I agree with Jason definitely. This is way more humorous than I initially thought.

Is this article even serious?
#7
Erik 10 April 2014
Kit,
1.) You clearly do not understand why GSG voted against the increase. GSG is not necessarily anti fun or anti spending. They just don't automatically assume that more spending makes Mines a better place. They need a well thought out justification and they need to know where the money will go before they will vote for it. I was at the joint operating meeting and it was painfully clear that USG had not thought the fee increase through. What came up would have made for a good preliminary discussion several months before the joint operating meeting.
2.) It was unclear where the money would go. At the joint operating meeting, it was legal services and clubs. Now the justification is MAC and a better E-Days. This wavering and retroactive searching for a justification is further evidence that the fee increase was not ready for a vote. With the information presented at the joint operating meeting, it was not reasonably possible to conclude what the fee increase was for.
#8
Erik 10 April 2014
3.) As Michael pointed out, I also did my undergrad here and know about the events that are available. I did not come here for the social life and I did not come back for graduate school for the social life. I am here to learn and get my degrees. That is what matters. Clubs and events do not. Their impact on my time at Mines has been trivial and many of my friends say the same thing. You are incorrect to assume that the vast majority of people benefit from your activities or want you spending their money. Undergraduate activities are even less relevant to graduate students. To be blunt, the $200 I spent on a new monitor for my office is doing me far more good than the $200 a year you guys will be spending on my behalf. Don't pretend that you know my needs better than I do. You don't.
#9
Jason Barters 10 April 2014
Gotta say, Erik makes a good point. Did MAC (or USG for that matter) ever do a study or survey of the students to see what they wanted? Additionally, am I reading this right... MAC and other Governing Body's (who DIRECTLY receive more money from fee increases) are allowed to vote in USG??? How the heck is that legal?
#10
Joshua Hoffman 10 April 2014
Funny, the medium through which students disgruntled with the Associated Students Fee increase voice their grievances is funded mainly by...the Associated Students Fee.
Colorado School of Mines

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