Dinesh McCoy, UNC Campus Y co-president, attended part of Thursday’s meeting and said he thinks board members are relying too much on tuition and fee hikes instead of pushing for funding at the legislative level.
“When you have a system where the people who are serving as the BOG are people who fundraised for the legislature and then don’t feel comfortable going to the legislature and asking for money, it’s disheartening to see,” he said.
McCoy said members of the UNC BOG Democracy Coalition will go to the General Administration building today to advocate for UNC’s centers and institutes. A highly scrutinized report on possible cuts to the system’s centers will be presented at the board’s February meeting at UNC-Charlotte.
The committee meeting also included a lively discussion of a proposed campus security fee of $30 per UNC-system student. A vote on the fee was ultimately tabled until February.
Most committee members agreed that campuses need additional funds to retain officers, hire trained investigators and comply with federal Title IX and Clery Act standards.
“We’re facing a completely new way of doing business when it comes to sexual assault on campuses,” said UNC-system President Tom Ross. “This is about students and protecting them, but it’s also about our staff.”
There was consideration of raising the fee to $40 or $50 per student, which would allow for more robust salary increases for campus police officers.
Hannah Gage, board member emeritus, noted that many other fees, namely athletics fees, don’t usually get as much scrutiny as the campus security fee has gotten. Athletic fees at seven system schools would top $700 per student next school year under the proposal.
Board member Marty Kotis said he thinks additional money for campus security should be pulled from existing university sources instead of putting the burden on students and their parents.
“I don’t like raising fees,” said board member Peter Hans. “But I know resources are needed.”
McCoy said he wished board members had showed more concern about increasing fees.
“The only option that they see as feasible is raising costs on students.”