Tuition Fees and Advisory board discusses proposed budgets. Photo by Chimena Ihebuzor.

The Tuition and Fees Advisory Board convened last week to discuss and vote on proposed budget recommendations for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The board is a body of student leaders, appointed by Chancellor Philip Dubois and Student Body President Tracey Allsbrook, to hear student fee increase requests from a variety of campus administrators and advocate for student financial interests.

The Tuition and Advisory Board Meetings were open to the public and students were encouraged to attend.

The first meeting was held on Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. on the first floor of the Harris Alumni Center. Representatives from departments requesting fee increases were given the opportunity to submit a plan of action for how they would use the money. Students were able to question a department’s reasoning.

This meeting lasted for three hours, ending at 7 p.m..

On Nov. 9, Allsbrook welcomed all those in attendance to the second meeting at 6 p.m. Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Kevin Bailey assisted in the moderation of the evening.

The meeting concluded at a little before 9 p.m.

During the second meeting, the assembly of students collaborated to vote on the increase or decrease of fees in four important departments: Health Services, Student Union Operations, University Recreation Center (UREC) and Education and Technology.

Health Services received a $11 fee increase, $4 more than their asking price. The vote was nearly unanimous. Thirteen of the 14 committee members voted in favor of the increase, with one abstain.

Student Union Operations made history Thursday night. For the first time since its opening in 2009, the now Popp Martin Student Union will receive an increase of $3, bringing the static $5 up to $8.

UREC was approved for a student fee of $15. Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jim Hoppa graced the select group with a never before seen promotional teaser that grants the viewer a virtual tour of the Health and Wellness Center projected to be open to the UNC Charlotte community in fall 2019.

At the beginning of the second meeting, Allsbrook placed Education and Technology at the end of the discussion board due to a debate between two potential fee increases for nearly an hour. After great deliberation the fee of $23 was approved, eight to six. This was $12 short of the department’s request. Many members of the committee agreed that the department could not provide a through breakdown of the requested $35.

At the conclusion of the meeting, it was decided that a combined student fee of $57 will be presented to Dubois.

The following departments didn’t request fee increases: Athletics, Playing Field Maintenance, Recreational Services, Student Activity Center and Venue Management, Cone Operations, and Student Fee Commission.

Bailey, who is nearing his four-month anniversary with Niner Nation, was pleased with the proceedings of the previous week.

“I am impressed with the level of questioning and thought that the students put behind this process. As well as how they worked with each other or rebutted each other in a way that was insightful and in a way that didn’t necessarily “poo poo” or invalidate someone else’s point. If we could replicate this conversation on campus for other things, we would be miles, even light years ahead,” he said.