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The Daily Tar Heel

New student fee on UNC-system Board of Governors' agenda

Members will vote on a $30 fee per student to address campus security.

The new fee will be part of broader discussions about students’ tuition and fees that are beginning Thursday. It stems from a systemwide campus security report championed by UNC-system President Tom Ross and presented in July 2014.

If approved, it would create about $5.4 million annually for campus security measures. The money would provide additional support for trained investigators and hearing officers, Title IX compliance coordination, counseling staff and security training.

Board member Marty Kotis said these moderate fees are evolving into a mountain of payments, which is a continual burden for students.

“It’s easy to say everyone wants more security,” he said. “Should we spend $30 more or $1,000 more for this? The students are having to pay for this.”

For the 2014-2015 school year, UNC-CH students paid $1,498 in student fees. The average UNC-system school pays $1,863 — and that amount will increase 4.9 percent to $1,955 under the 2015-16 tuition and fees proposal.

Still, committee member Harry Leo Smith is in favor of the campus security fee and said the board is keenly aware of what it needs to do to keep the campuses safe.

“We will take every action possible to make sure that the security of campus is the number one priority,” Smith said.

Kotis said if history is any indicator, the fee is sure to go through.

“I think almost all fees are approved by the BOG,” he said. “I’m not sure they’ve ever been turned down.”

Under the proposed fee structure, $25 of the $30 collected from each student would be allocated to the campus, and $5 would be allotted to UNC General Administration for system-wide training.

Members will also consider fee changes related to athletics, health services and student activities.

Charles Perusse, UNC-system chief operating officer, said the system considered including additional funding for campus security in its budget, but decided to propose it as a student fee.

UNC sophomore Allison Lyles said she would not mind the fee if it increased security on campus.

“I think that it’s worth it because in the long run $30 isn’t an exorbitant amount of money to pay for something that is supposed to keep you safe,” she said.

“With all the different controversial events that happened, especially over this summer and past few years, it’s worth the peace of mind of parents, students and the community if we invest in making everyone feel safe.”

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