In what GPSA President Marisa Silva called a “rogue” move, the Board of Regents Tuesday went against the Student Fee Review Board and approved an increase in student fees for Athletics.
The measure provides Athletics with a $900,000 increase in fee money for FY 2014, which begins in July. The increase per student is $33.45 more than what SFRB recommended for Athletics fees, and increased the total per-student fee for Athletics to $165.20.
Athletics received $131.75 per student for FY 2013 and the SFRB recommended that it receive the same amount for FY 2014.
This is the second year in a row the board has gone against the SFRB’s recommendations and approved a fee increase for Athletics. Last year, regents approved a $50 per-student fee increase to fund the Athletics Department.
The proposed increase was a surprise to Silva and ASUNM President Caroline Muraida.
“Students, all 23,471 that Marisa and I represent between the two of us, do not support this increase in Athletics at this time,” Muraida said.
After the regents approved the increase, Silva told the Daily Lobo that neither she nor Muraida was aware of the proposed Athletics increase. Silva and Muraida sit on the SFRB and the Strategic Budget Leadership Team.
“President Muraida and I were surprised to see that the two bodies that we’ve sat on, both with considerable legitimacy who have put in a great deal of work, had the recommendations changed,” Silva said.
Silva said the decision goes against work that both the SFRB and the SBLT have made to communicate to Director of Athletics Tim Cass how much student fee money should be allotted to the department.
“This was a very rogue move and it flies in the face of our processes and how responsible we have been in the good faith in the way we’ve been acting the entire year. Students were betrayed by that vote today,” Silva said.
The board passed the rest of the student fee recommendations with no further discussion.
The Board of Regents approved a motion Tuesday that changes the definition of a full-time student as well as student tuition structure.
UNM President Robert Frank presented a restructured body of tuition to the board early that provides new incentives for students to graduate in four years.
Frank said 15 percent of students graduate in four years and 46 percent of students graduate in six years.
Before the regents approved the measure, students who took 12 credit hours at the University were considered full-time students and all credit hours between 12 and 18 were the same price.
Frank’s new motion requires students to pay for individual credit hours up until 15 credit hours. Students who take 15 to 18 credit hours a semester will see a 6.6 percent increase in tuition and fees, whereas students taking fewer than 15 credit hours will see a 13.2 percent increase in tuition and fees.
Essentially, students taking between 15 and 18 credits will receive about a $400 tuition increase while students taking 12 credits will receive about an $800 increase.
“We’re asking a lot of you today, we’re asking a lot of our students today, we believe this is the right time to ask a lot,” Frank said, as he spoke to the Board of Regents. “This is the right moment to try to make a big step.”
Frank said the restructured tuition will help retain faculty members and staff, as it provides a 3 percent pay increase for faculty and a 1 percent pay increase for staff, graduate assistants and teacher assistants. Those are in addition to the 1 percent pay increase Gov. Susana Martinez approved on Friday for all state employees.