After nearly an hour of deliberation, the Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee determined that the College of Engineering’s tuition committee adequately followed all processes necessary to make an informed vote representative of their peers’ wishes on a proposed $15 per credit hour fee increase, which they voted in favor of last week.
The college tuition committee approved the fee increase amid debate that engineering students were not well informed on the fee that was proposed to them.
In the fall, two-thirds of the college approved a $15 per credit hour increase via survey with a 2-1 margin. However, the fee was introduced to them as a departmental fee, whereas the fee that the CTC voted on was college-wide.
Committee votes to increase engineering course fees
Last week, April Mason, provost and senior vice president of Kansas State, claimed responsibility for the deviation, which she emphasized in a letter written to members of the TFSC due to her absence at Tuesday’s meeting.
“I write to emphasize again that it was my decision to collapse the eight departmental fee requests into one college fee request for the College of Engineering,” Mason wrote.
“Again, I did not give the Dean a choice as to whether he could move the eight separate departmental fee requests forward,” she continued. “I own that decision.”
However, debate on Tuesday night did not focus on whether the fee should be departmental or college-wide, but whether the CTC’s approval was valid, given the deviation between the survey and the fee that was actually proposed.
“The proposal that was voted on said college-wide, and it is our responsibility to make a determination as to whether or not that vote was valid,” said Jack Ayres, student body president and senior in chemical engineering.
The committee also discussed the issue of absent voters at the time of the CTC’s vote. Although the CTC voted 12-6 in favor, some of the votes in favor were made by email, meaning some members submitted absentee votes. Seven absent members did not vote at all. The missing votes are attributed to three engineering student organization representatives, a sophomore representative and three student senators.
“We asked those representatives to be there for a reason, and over half of the multicultural students that were appointed by the diversity head of the college were not there,” Miranda Moore, academic affairs director and senior in communications studies, said. “And then student senators, I kind of am irked by that because they are involved in student government already, but also because my assumption would be that they’re more knowledgeable about what is going on and I would like their voice to be more represented.”
Ultimately, members of the TFSC voted 9-2, ruling the CTC’s vote valid. The TFSC will now write a report to send to university president Richard Myers detailing the committees’ issues regarding the fee’s approval process.
“I’ll get a tattoo,” Ayres said laughingly. “I’ll get a tattoo on my back of things that pissed me off about this fee.”
The TFSC also voted unanimously to approve the College of Architecture, Planning and Design tuition committee’s vote to approve an increase within their college, although the number of that increase was not readily apparent on public documents as of press time.
“Obviously Dean de Noble has a great rapport in the college,” Trent Kennedy, student senator and senior in entrepreneurship, said. “He’s a great guy, but to set that aside, I think that was the students had to say about the fee was all I needed. And, the deans really demonstrated commitment to helping financially underserved and needy students. I thought that was impressive.”
Jonathan Peuchen, speaker of the senate and senior in mechanical engineering, said he agreed.
“I think one thing we can truly agree on is that they truly knew what they were voting on,” he said.