Technology fee may cost up to $500

Kelly Pickerel

Members of the university administration presented an idea of a technology fee for all students to the Undergraduate Student Senate yesterday.

“We need to make a technology investment,” said David Creamer, senior vice president for administration. “If we can charge a little bit more now, then have students go out and start making money (with better technological knowledge), ultimately you will benefit.”

Creamer said the increased fee could be anywhere from $100 to $500, with no final decision to be made before the 2009-2010 academic year.

He also said there is a need for classroom renovations.

“A lot of buildings were built from the end of World War II to the end of the ’70s when the campus really began to grow substantially because of people like me – the baby boomers,” Creamer said. “We have classroom chairs original to the building. Maps are original, some from the ’50s.”

Katie Hale, executive director of USS, said a lot can be done now without the fee.

“Chairs and maps, while not technology oriented, are fundamentally important,” she said. “(Improvements) can be done quickly.”

Provost Robert Frank said Kent State is already doing this, but it’s the rate that the university is going that makes it seem as though nothing is happening.

Creamer said Kent State depends on the state of Ohio for allotting funds for renovations and improvements, and the university can only do so much at one time.

“(Newly renovated) Franklin Hall is one of the most attractive, most advanced buildings,” he said. Improvements are currently underway at Oscar Ritchie Hall and will continue to other buildings later.

“All money for classroom renovations goes to classroom renovations,” Creamer said.

The extra fee for students can help improve the university in other areas, he said.

Creamer said Kent State is low on the list of extra fees compared to other universities in the country.

He said this may mean the university is at a disadvantage, and a fee increase could be beneficial.

“We’re not substantially behind today,” Creamer said of Kent State’s technology. “But we’re worried about keeping up. We don’t want to fall behind because it takes a lot to catch up.”

Frank said the campus is currently 85 percent wireless, but he would like to see the number at 100.

“We’d like to create more mobile access in dorms,” he said. “We’re looking into improving technology in classrooms, using iPods, clickers, getting wireless access everywhere.”

The extra fee could help put us where we need to be, Creamer said.

He ensured the senators the fee will not come as a shock, and students will be aware of plans.

“We want to be transparent,” Creamer said. “Whatever we do, we want students to know the true cost and not be surprised.”

He asked USS for assistance in gauging how willing students would be to accept the fee.

“It’s a difficult decision,” Creamer said. “We’re looking at all options and trying to find a balance between services and costs. We want a price that makes sense.”

While no date has been set for the fee, the senators said they would start talking to students immediately.

USS meetings are 4 p.m. Wednesdays in the Student Center Governance Chambers and are open to the public.

Contact student politics reporter Kelly Pickerel at [email protected].