Objective Statement & Rationale Statement
Statements in Support of the Campus Union Fee Increase
- The fee will be used to partially support operations and maintenance of the University Center (UC) facilities and programs. This includes many high-profile student programs such as Center Activities, the Student Recreation Center, the Recreation & Wellness Center, CenterArts, and the University Center building and operations.
- Many other campus programs and departments are supported by the UC through direct support or facilities that the UC operates. Examples include: Athletics, Sport Clubs, Intramurals, OhSNAP! student food program, Health Center Peer Education, Academic classes, Clubs & Activities, Associated Students, AS Presents, and various campus departments.
- The fee proposal has been fully vetted and supported by the University Center Board of Directors and UC Finance Committee, both of which have significant student representation.
- There are a significant amount (more than $9 million) of critical deferred maintenance projects within the UC building that the organization is financially responsible for.
- The current Campus Union Fee is the 3rd lowest in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system. If approved it will still be significantly lower than the 2017-18 system average of $446.
- The current Campus Union Fee has not been adjusted since 1987 and the Student Recreation Center Fee has not been adjusted since 2005.
Statements against the Campus Union Fee Increase
- Other campus fees and tuition may also rise for the 2018-19 Academic Year. Increasing the cost of attendance decreases the affordability of higher education and may add to student loan debt.
- College education should be better supported by the State of California budget rather than student fees.
- Students who don’t involve themselves with UC programs and facilities may benefit less from the proposed fee adjustment.
Description and Rationale
The University Center (UC) is proposing a fee adjustment for the Campus Union fee. The Union Fee has not increased since 1987, and the Student Recreation Center Fee, which also supports UC facilities, has not gone up since its inception in 2004. Since then, the cost of providing programs, paying wages, and maintaining equipment and facilities has risen dramatically. According to the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), cumulative inflation since 2001 is 49 percent, and a 103 percent since 1987. In addition, both of the UC fees are amongst the lowest in the CSU system. The current UC fee is 41 percent of the system average of $446.
The University Center and its programs are central to student life on campus. The proposed revenue will fund current student programs, access to facilities and other program support that the UC currently performs for the campus. Center Activities, CenterArts, and UC Operations are the program areas that will be negatively affected by limited funding going into the future. These areas offer many programs central to student life at HSU by providing recreation, student employment and leadership opportunities, performances and event management for the campus. These services are also critical for recruitment and retention of students, staff, and faculty.
In addition to offering its own high-quality recreation courses, Center Activities manages the Student Recreation Center, the Recreation & Wellness Center, and the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. These facilities help to support many student programs such as Athletics, Sport Clubs, Intramurals, Health Center programs (OhSnap!, Health Center Peer Education), Clubs & Activities, and academic courses.
CenterArts produces high quality cultural events including concerts, speakers, and special events. Also, CenterArts provides critical advice and production elements for AS Presents, technical expertise for programs all over campus, and ticketing and event management for academic departments and other campus organizations. Many HSU programs are supported directly or indirectly by UC Operations, especially Clubs & Activities and Associated Students. Many academic departments, campus functions and more also receive facilities support from UC Operations when using the Kate Buchanan Room and other areas in the UC, Nelson Hall East, and the UC Quad.
Purpose of the Increase
The primary reasons for the proposed Campus Union Fee adjustment are increasing operational costs that include:
Significant increases in the California minimum wage - The UC employs more than 100 student employees at any given time. The minimum wage will increase to $15 an hour by 2022 and result in a rise of $250,000 in student wages alone.
Wage / Benefit Increases - The rise in the minimum wage also creates upward pressure on salary wages. Also, the costs for employee benefits such as retirement and health insurance continue to escalate.
Equipment Renewal - A significant amount of equipment will need replacement in the coming years. One example is exercise equipment in the Student Recreation Center, a large percentage of which was put into service more than 10 years ago and is likely past its expected lifespan.
Deferred Maintenance - The UC is financially responsible for maintenance of the UC building itself. The current estimate is more than $9 million in facility renewal and deferred maintenance projects that could be done over the next 10 years. Some of the larger projects include critical systems such as elevators for access, fire alarm and suppression for safety, and HVAC controls for energy efficiency. There are also many smaller renewal projects that could support program efficiency in the Clubs and AS office areas.
Future Student Programming Facilities - The campus will likely undergo a significant change in student programs and facilities in the coming years. Some facilities that house student programs are past their useful life, and there's also a desire to co-locate programs for more synergy and efficiency. As plans develop, the UC must remain financially prepared to participate in projects that will meet these goals.