Fees should benefit whole student body

Fees, fees, fees.

It is again nearing that time of year when the leaves fall from the trees, Pittsburgh enters a phase of weather that ends in bitter cold, and the university instates more student fees. Indeed, student government last week saw three proposals for added or restructured student fees.

The first of these fees pertains to the Health Center. Traditionally funded through Student Affairs, it is now looking to add either a student health fee or a co-pay to defer costs. The second is an increase in the student activities fee to support the Collegiate Readership Program (the free newspapers in those red bins) combined with the removal of the Undergraduate Media Fee. The last proposal is to increase the transportation fee to permanently support the Loop Bus.

While the student government continues to debate these fees, we have to ask if these fees are a necessity. Is the Loop Bus really worth $4 per student per semester when, by all accounts, it is used by no more than 100 students per weekend? Is the Collegiate Readership Program even sustainable or worthwhile?

The Health Services fee is an understandable request for the student body to help finance. Health Services is the most convenient place for students to go for any health concerns they might have, and it is often the least expensive. It is not at all unreasonable to ask students to help pay to offset the costs of the hundreds of flu vaccines that have been distributed over the past weeks, in addition to the other benefits that health services offers. The raises for the readership fees and the transportation fees, however, are a different matter.

While the Loop Bus’s extended hours do give students an advantage when they’re coming home from a late night out on the town and the PAT buses have already stopped running, it seems a bit overdone to ask students to pay two fees for the PAT buses and for the Loop Bus, especially when only a small percentage of the student body rides the latter. And while the Collegiate Readership Program is a praiseworthy effort, we’re pretty sure copies of USA Today aren’t flying off the shelves to the point where more money needs to be added to the program.

We are in favor of new developments that help support Carnegie Mellon’s student body, but we believe that any additional fees that students are asked to pay should be ones that will benefit the whole student body.