The Quality Services to Students rejected to endorse a motion proposed by the administration at the Campus Affairs meeting last Thursday to raise the student services fee from $157.45 to $167.66. The meeting also discussed fee increases for student services and student societies.
Student services on campus include the health and counselling fee, the athletics and recreation fee, and student services fee. The student services fee involves programs such as the shuttle bus, Student Life Initiatives, and the Child and Family Care Centre.
The family care centre is a non-profit organization at UTM, subsidized by both students and the campus, and holds about two-dozen children, according to Mark Overton, UTM’s dean of student affairs and the chair of Quality Services to Students.
“Based on the current year’s budget, the ELC [Early Learning Centre] at UTM is primarily funded by user fees (from family users) of $209,000; $193,000 from the Student Services fee, and a UTM subsidy of $76,000,” wrote Overton in an email to The Medium.
UTMSU’s president Nour Alideeb stated during the meeting that members of QSS ultimately disagreed with the student service fee pertaining to the Child and Family Care Centre.
Alideeb told the Campus Affairs Committee that instead of denying the fee increase outright, the QSS wanted to work on a new fee structure of student service fees instead.
Overton also reviewed the fee amounts that QSS recommend, some of which include a vote to raise the health and counseling fee by $6.28 per session for a session total of $44.72, which is the maximum amount that is permitted by the University. The athletics and recreation fee was also recommended to be raised by $3.51 per session for a session total of $178.71, while the maximum raise permitted is up to $183.72.
The QSS consists of 11 staff members and 11 student members, including two UTMSU executives, four students appointed by the union, two student representatives from UTMAC, two representatives from the Residence Council, and one from the Association of Graduate Students.
The Campus Affairs also recommended motions to raise select fees pertaining to student societies. UTM hosts a variety of student societies such as UTMSU, Residence Council, Athletics Council, The Medium, CFRE Radio, and the MMPA Society.
Another motion was carried to increase the U-Pass by $7.08 for each the Fall and Winter sessions, and $3.78 increase for summer session for full time students.
The Campus Affairs committee also reviewed the cost of capital projects such as UTM’s parking deck.
Gilbert Delgado, the chief of university planning, design and construction presented that an adjustment cost was needed to the parking deck expansion.
Unexpected costs during construction appeared, such as the need to build a third stairway, instead of the originally-designed two stairways, due to site conditions “such as testing and removal of contaminated soil,” according to the item’s agenda.
To accommodate the time used up by these extra expenses, the university paid acceleration costs, according to Delgado. The new total cost for the project was considered during an in-camera portion of the meeting, which was not open to non-members of the committee.
Delgado also discussed revision for the capital planning and projects, like those of the parking decks or greenhouse constructions. Capital projects are divided into three cost categories: Level One projects have a cost from $3 million dollars and less, Level Two projects range from $3-10 million dollars, and Level Three projects are over $10 million dollars.
According to the item’s agenda, approval of capital projects less than $3 million on the UTSC and UTM campuses are “delegated to the UTM Space Planning and Management Committee and the UTSC Campus Design and Development Committee established by the Principal and Vice President of the respective campus.”
The Planning and Budget Committee at the St. George Campus, along with the Campus Affairs and Campus Council committees at UTM and the Scarborough campus, consider capital projects ranging from over $3 million to $10 million, and recommend it to the Academic Board.
Any project exceeding $10 million dollars has to be approved by the university’s Governing Council.
Delgado proposed raising Level One projects to $5 million, Level Two projects to $5-20 million, and Level Three to $20 million and above. He said this is intended to provide the university with more flexibility when planning capital projects.
The recommendations made by QSS and the administration regarding student services and student societies are expected to be carried onto the Campus Council meeting for approval on March 2. As for the parking deck’s additional information, it will be brought on to the Academic Board for approval on March 16.