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ISSUE 119 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/14/2005

Meeting features finances

By Brenna Greenfield
Staff Writer


Friday, October 14, 2005

At the Senate meeting Oct. 6, senators discussed a change in the Campus Activities and Programs (CAP) fee, money that comes out of students' tuition to fund various on-campus programs, and listened to Institutional and Instructional Technologies (IIT) directors detail current campus-wide initiatives.

Student Government Association (SGA) Financial Officer Shannon Bifulk presented an $18 CAP fee increase, while IIT Director Roberta Lembke and Associate Director of Information Systems Craig Rice covered recent changes that will benefit students and faculty.

With a staff of 22 full-time employees, 73 academic year student employees and a $3 million yearly budget, IIT is a veritable, if invisible, force on campus.

IIT gathers feedback annually as students exit registration. Last year, the top request among students was faster Internet. IIT addressed this concern Sept. 20 by increasing the commercial Internet bandwidth to 20 megabytes per second (mbps), which more than doubled the previous connection speed of nine mbps.

IIT also responded to student complaints about unfriendly help staff. Lembke said, "[We have picked] out students with the best technical skills. These are the ‘special forces’ and they will be the ones going to residence halls."

After two customer service training sessions during fall semester, Lembke hopes that "in November when we survey you, complaints [about customer service] will decrease."

Online registration is another common student request. IIT is working on a student information system, and Rice explained that "if plans come together, perhaps for interim registration we’'ll do a dry run."

Following the IIT presentation, Bifulk presented the Senate with a budget itemization plan that will increase students’ CAP from $153 to $171. This increase would allot extra funds to programs like Collegiate Readership, a newspaper program that provides free copies of The New York Times, the Star Tribune and USA Today to students.

The increase will bring the CAP fee to its level before the 10 percent budget cut two years ago. It will not affect tuition directly, instead redistributing current tuition monies.

"We are competing with very distinct departments, but I do expect at least a $5 increase," Bifulk said. This amount was already allotted to the Collegiate Readership program and had already been unofficially approved. "This increase would help us grow and reach out to more students," she said.

After Bifulk brings the revised proposal before the Senate on Oct. 13, college treasurer Alan Norton and other faculty and administration members will make the final approval decision.





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