Facing the prospect of ending their 117 year run, the University of Connecticut’s student run daily newspaper, the Daily Campus, was relieved to have their proposed $6 fee increase approved at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting.
The Daily Campus proposed a $3 fee increase in 2012, after announcing that they may have to shut down by 2014 without it, but lost in a student vote by a 54 to 46 percent margin.
“Our fees have stayed the same and our advertising has gone down,” said Melanie Deziel, the Daily Campus’ former editor-in-chief, in a year old post on the paper’s WordPress site dedicated to their financial troubles.
If the Daily Campus did not receive the increase they would have had to “drastically change” how they do things, according to the paper’s current Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Crowley. The paper was weighing its options and considered becoming a weekly publication, as opposed to a daily, or going completely online had it been denied the increase.
The college newspaper would have also had to cut the salaries of the nearly 200 students they employ.
“We are a longstanding tradition, it would be a shame to lose it,” Crowley said.
The Daily Campus’ fee increase, along with a $10 transit fee increase, a $10 Undergraduate Student Government increase and a $30 technology increase, are contributors to the $116 raise in student fees that will affect undergraduate students at the university’s Storrs campus next semester.
This rise is separate from the 6.2 percent tuition increase students will face this coming fall.
Brien Buckman, a student trustee, voiced his oppositions to the fee increases, specifically that of the Daily Campus and the technology increase, at Wednesday’s meeting.
“The student body previously voted against the increase of this fee. I see no reason why we should be overriding the wishes of the student body if this is a fee by them for them,” Buckman said in regards to the Daily Campus.
“I see where he’s [Brien Buckman] coming from, but I don’t agree,” Crowley said in a phone interview. She explained that last year’s student vote was not a good representation of what most students want because of the low voter turnout.
Only 3,364 students, less than 20 percent of the 17,815 undergraduate students attending the university’s Storrs campus during the 2011-2012 academic year, cast votes either for or against the Daily Campus fee increase last March.
Buckman also expressed concerns regarding to the $150 in fees students will now pay to help the university meet the technology needs expected by its students.
This would include financial support for the university’s more than 350 “high tech classrooms,” and the ability to provide students with the latest downloadable copies of Microsoft Office and Windows for Mac.
“Students have tremendous demands, especially in technology,” University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst, said. She also stated that raising tuition and fees is not ideal but the money has to come from somewhere.
Additional fee increases that will not affect the entire undergraduate student population, including a $20 per credit fee for students enrolled in online courses and increases for specific law and nursing courses, were also approved last week.
Herbst ensured the board and those in attendance that the approved fee increases were not an underhanded way to elevate a plan approved by the board in December of 2011 which will increase tuition over the next four years to cover the cost of hiring over 250 new faculty members.