Home » Editorial, Headline, Opinion

Lack of publicity hurts student fee forum

4 December 2013 By Jonathan Munshaw, Editor-in-chief 5 Comments

Think back to this time last year, when the University was balancing the decision of whether to cut baseball and men’s soccer in order to comply with Title IX and the budget.

Remember the messages that would be sent out by President Loeschke and other members of the administration about the cuts and the process of determining which sports would or wouldn’t be cut?

But now that there is a discussion about increasing student fees, I can only wonder where those same emails and outlets of communication are.

I first heard of the student fees through someone close to the situation, and the proposed increase was later confirmed by an advertisement that was sent to The Towerlight (which later ran in Monday’s issue).

Unfortunately, not every student on campus reads The Towerlight, and not everyone saw the story we printed about the proposal.

This was reflected in the lack of attendance at both the student fee forum and the Student Government Association meeting on Tuesday.

At the fee forum, which was targeted at all students, the only people there were representatives from the SGA. Besides Towerlight writers, the only non-SGA affiliated people at the meeting were two students, who I believe were undergraduates and one graduate student.

The same students who neglected to show up will be the ones complaining six months from now that their bill from Towson was higher than it was last year, yet the University had the opportunity for students to come out and ask questions about the student fee process and this particular round of increases.

However, some of the fault for the lack of student interest should fall back on the University.

There was nothing in T3 Tuesday morning about the forum, and the ad was sent to The Towerlight for the issue that printed a day before the forum was even held.

On the Master Events calendar on the TU home page, there was a listing for the forum. However, instead of mentioning the proposed fee increases, the description for the event was “Interested in learning about the process for determining proposed fee increases? Would you like to learn more about the mandatory fees all undergraduate and graduate students pay…The forum will provide an opportunity to share information on institutional needs to support student services for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.”

In the forum, Vice President of Student Affairs Deb Moriarty and Vice President for Administration and Finance Joe Oster did an excellent job of explaining why the fees were going to be increased and what the money would be used for.

After hearing them speak, I became completely in favor of the increase in fees because I think the University is doing great things to help the student experience at Towson.

Unfortunately, no students were there to hear the explanation.

Earlier on Tuesday, an email was sent out about making sure everyone attends the football game on Saturday. Why couldn’t the University have sent out an email to all students bringing up the fee forum? It affects more students than the sports cuts did, yet the sports cuts got more publicity from Towson.

Granted, the SGA is representative of the student body, but they almost did not allow ample time to disseminate the information to students.

There was a resolution on the table at the SGA meeting that would have supported an increase in SGA fees for students by $4. Granted, $4 isn’t a lot of money but the overall sum of money that the SGA and the University would be getting from the increased fees adds up fast, and students have the right to know what their money is being spent on.

The SGA resolution was eventually tabled due to the short turnaround time between the forum on the fees and the SGA meeting, which was literally minutes.
One senator argued that he would forget what was discussed at the forum if the resolution was put off until after break, but the students of Towson deserve that time to learn about the fee increases.

The University and the student body need to both improve the lines of communication. If students don’t know about an event, they won’t go to it. But for the students who do know and who do have an opinion about it, and voice their concerns in Towerlight comments or on social media, they need to be stepping up to the plate to make sure their input is heard.


  • PaperTiger said:

    You ought to go back to some of the President’s statements from last year and see where she said that one of the reasons why sports needed to be cut was to avoid putting additional burden on the students. I guess that was another lie from this President.

    I wonder if the average Towson student knows that they are paying over $810 dollars per year to subsidize athletics. This is the highest student fee in the University System of Maryland that is dedicated totally to Athletics. UMBC has a fee that is combined recreation and athletics, and that is only $10 more than Towson’s Athletics only fee.

    In exchange each student gets free admission to games, but what they do not tell you is that the only sports that charge admission are football(5 games a year), basketball(28 games a year),volleyball (8 games a year)and Gymnastics (4 meets a year). So, for 45 events every Towson student is really paying $18 per game whether they go to the game or not. Over the course of a standard 4-year college career each Towson Undergrad will pay over $3,240 to support athletics.

    The real lunacy comes when you balance that against the reality that only 4,000 of 21,000 students go to football games on average, around 1,000 go to men’s basketball games and less than 200 attend women’s basketball or gymnastics. So conservatively 81% of the students at Towson, or 17,000) are never taking advantage of paying this incredibly high fee.

    How does this make sense Towson Administration? Why were you waiting until the last few days of the fall term to try and sneak this increase through?

    I would much rather pay more fees to build a real student rec center rather than another renovation of a broken down Burdick Hall. From what I have heard the renovations being planned there are going to be renovations of classrooms as much as anything that will serve real campus rec needs and general student fitness and health.

    Towson Athletics has just opened the new arena, they have a relatively new football and lacrosse stadium, and thanks to the Maryland Government Bailout they are getting a new Softball Stadium too. When do the handouts quit for an athletics program that is losing money every year? IF you want more money for your budget don’t come running to the students who are paying big bucks to go to school and not go to games. If these sports are so important then charge money for people to go see them and you will see how the market values the product.

    Take Tiger Athletics Off of Student Welfare Now. I propose ending the athletics fee as a mandatory charge and make it an opt-in fee. Then and only then will you see how much the students really care about Athletics over getting an Education.

  • Brendan said:

    I don’t know the economics of it, but I would think that if you zeroed out the athletics fees and charged $18 (or whatever) for students to come to the games, we would be in an even worse situation with athletics attendance. Without attendance, programs die. And again, I don’t know the economics of it, but I’m pretty sure football and basketball bring in a lot of the money that keeps your tuition down. Towson is a growing school that needs the boost from those fees.

    Instead of whining about the fees, how about we focus on getting more people to actually come to the games so the intended growth happens more quickly? More students -> filled stadiums/arenas -> more exciting experience -> more ticket sales -> more profit for athletics -> no more need to raise student fees.

  • Professor said:

    Without attendance programs die? True. But why should the University extort money from the students in order to push teams on the students that they obviously do not want to support? That is ridiculous.

    You talk about football and basketball bringing in money, but the reality is that neither team makes a profit and if you would take every dollar that both teams make and multiply that total by 5 you could not even cover their own costs of operation every year. Look it up here; http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/GetOneInstitutionData.aspx

    Towson only supports the overbloated division one athletics program because the President allows the student fee, largest in the University system, to steal $810 dollars per year from every students. That’s $3,240 from every kid over their basic college career.

    If you think that the majority of students really care that much about sports at Towson to pay $810 a year then why not put it up to a vote of the students. My bet, and it’s a sure winner, is that they would kill off this costly welfare student fee for a benefit to only 400 other students by 80% to 20% vote.

    If you want to learn more about the truth about Towson Sports and how it is bleeding the students dry write my favorite professor Ryan King White at rwhite@towson.edu He knows the facts and is not afraid to stand up to the greedy administrators that run this school

  • Professor said:

    Extortion to make students scraping by to pay high tuition to pay over 800 bucks a year to watch Towson sports that they do not care about and that they do not support with their attendance even for free. The football and basketball revenues are non existent and even if you multiplied the money they “bring in” by 10 it would not cover their own annual operating costs. Look it up http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/GetOneInstitutionData.aspx

  • Brendan said:

    Where are you seeing that? If I’m reading it correctly, I see a slightly larger revenue over expenses.

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