A new price list for UTM’s audiovisual equipment has drawn criticism from UTMSU and student clubs renting the gear for events on campus.
Among the increases, the university will now charge $38 for a small PA system, up from $20; the cost of a large PA system has also been increased from $40 to $56. New audiovisual packages now range from $86 to $188.
The costs will apply to all student organizations who use audiovisual equipment for events anywhere on campus except in the Student Centre. The Department of Student Life, administrators, and faculty are exempted from all audio and visual costs.
According to Ebi Agbeyegbe, UTMSU’s president, the decision to implement the new price list was not voted on, but was “very secretive”.
Agbeyegbe also said that the new list had been approved by UTM’s chief administrative officer, Paul Donoghue. The Medium reached out to Donoghue for comment but did not receive a response as of press time.
“A lot of clubs and societies have already expressed displeasure of being charged money for room bookings,” added Agbeyegbe. “Some clubs with very small budgets can no longer afford to host events on campus because of the lack of financial support and the new charges applied for AV use.”
According to Agbeyegbe, there are more than 100 clubs, associations, and academic societies recognized by UTMSU and many host events outside the Student Centre due to the building’s limited space.
According to Michael Young, manager of IT Customer Service at UTM, UTM’s price list is competitive with other universities and campuses including U of T’s St. George and Scarborough campuses, Brock University, McGill University, and Seneca College. Young also told The Medium the new pricing is also competitive with third party companies.
“There’s so much variation in the actual equipment,” said Young regarding the cost of AV equipment on campus. “It all depends on the original costs. But I feel like we’re very much in line with what everyone else is charging, and in some cases, better.”
According to Susan Senese, UTM’s director of information and instructional technology, many of the AV services offered by the university have reduced prices, including webcasting services and access to electronic classrooms.
When asked about the new price list, Young told The Medium the spreadsheets have also been edited to ensure they are understood more easily. Some of the items were moved to the front page to allow people to easily take advantage of them.
“We do have competitive pricing,” said Senese. ”On an annual basis, we will check to make sure that we remain competitive within any kinds of pricing.”