At Issue: Trustees vote for fee increase, not without contradicting information

On Thursday, the Ball State Board of Trustees voted to approve a $1,000 fee hike for new students.

By a six to two vote, trustees agreed to levy the additional fee to fund the university's six-component Strategic Plan. Although administrators call this a "fee," it is more of an extension on next year's tuition.

After Thursday's meeting, Beverley Pitts, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said it would have been inappropriate to discuss the proposal with the public before the board approved it. It is up to the trustees themselves to decide if they want public input, she said.

"It's the job of the Board of Trustees to determine how they want the information presented to them," Pitts said. "That's their job to seek that, not ours."

Board President Tom DeWeese, however, said during a separate interview that the board is not responsible for actively garnering public opinion, though he maintained trustees should be well informed.

So because of an obvious contradiction, who pays the price?

It would appear to be incoming students.

Basically, if the public wants to say something, the public needs to find the trustees that know what their job entails. In addition, the public can't voice opinions to the trustees unless the trustees decide to hear the public.

Confused yet?

This contradicting information prevents the public from knowing which way is up when it comes to matters concerning them. Who will listen and who won't, and do they know what their jobs entail?

Unfortunately, this confusion comes with a $1,000 price tag, costing those who did not get to voice an opinion.

Trustees Melanie Scott and Kimberly Hood Jacobs voted against the measure, with Jacobs saying that she was concerned about low-income Hoosiers.

"I think the cost is going to be outrageous," Jacobs said. "There is going to be anguish in those families tonight."

Anguish about the fee is perhaps only part of it. Those families should also feel ignored.//2+*-¦editorial 9.27.02DNEditorial//2SORT?+â-ä2AUDT



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