ASUO bingo night informs students that they can have a say on tuition setting
Student government members, through a bingo game, let students know that there are ways for students to get involved in setting tuition at the University of Oregon.
ASUO students hosted the “Tuition Lingo Bingo” event on Nov. 29 in Straub Hall. The 25 students who attended the event were each given a character and checked off their bingo charts on ways their character was involved with UO’s tuition-setting process. Examples included lobbying state legislators, attending UO Board of Trustee meetings and attending Tuition & Fees Advisory Board meetings.
The TFAB, which consists of students, faculty and administrators develops recommendations every year to the university president and Board of Trustees on how much to increase tuition. The board plans to meet every Friday at 11 a.m. Robbie Farewell, an ASUO member in charge of state affairs, told the bingo-goers that it is crucial for students to give input at TFAB meetings.
“They really need to understand what these [tuition increases] would look like,” he said. “Particular students would have to transfer schools or would have to take on a whole range of new jobs that could have serious detriments to their studies.”
Farewell also announced that the ASUO would create an online forum for students to post comments on how certain tuition increases could affect them.
The UO Board of Trustees review TFAB recommendations before voting on how much to raise tuition at the end of winter term. Andrew Dunn, an ASUO director, told the student audience about the upcoming Dec. 1 meeting. Although, it will take place at the UO Portland campus, they will be accepting public comment over Skype from the Ford Alumni Center on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Most of the board members are based outside of Eugene.
“The faculty, staff and student member are really our only close ears on campus,” Dunn said, “so it is important that we get students to these board meetings to show them how they would really impact students.”
The ASUO organizes trips to the Oregon legislature to testify for increasing state funding of higher education. Students will have an opportunity to travel to Salem with UO student advocates on the March 9th “UO Lobby Day.” The UO projects that for 2016, UO will receive 7 percent of its funds from the state, causing for it to rely on tuition and donor dollars. UO President Michael Schill, along with six other university leaders signed a letter in March calling for $100 million more in state funding, in the face of increasing retirement costs.
“More often than not, when you hear from state members they would like to hear more from students. When it comes to where they are going to allocate money, you can guarantee that all the other special interests have some of the highest-paid lobbyists who are going to advocate for them,” Farewell said.
Several students in the audience came out of the event with a new understanding of how they could play a part in setting UO’s tuition.
“[Before the event] I didn’t know that it was so important to voice your concerns to the Board of Trustees,” said senior journalism student Alyssa Susnjara. “I didn’t really assume that we had much of an impact.”
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