Students can thank themselves that student
services will not fall under the ax of the proposed budget recommendations.
The bottom line is that nothing was cut. But,
first students had to approve a referendum for a
$15 per semester University Center Fee and
administrators had to transfer money from different services.
President Richard Van Horn has said the
first priority has been and continues to be support for academic programs. The administration is committed to remaining a NCAA Division 1 School and has already cut the number
of athletic teams to the minimum of 12. The
monetary problems of the athletic department
are due in part to lower enrollment rates, a drop
in ticket sales, a drop in the amount of state
funding for athletic programs and in television
revenues. These problems continued to squeeze
the athletics program.
During an annual budget review, a committee
member said that administrators decided to
recommend removal of state funding for the
Counseling and Testing Center (CTS) and Career Planning and Placement and to then shift
the funding for these services to the student
service fee. The state funds would then be used
for faculty salary increases and development of
The committee member also said that there
was no cut in any student service funding, so
there was no cut in student services. Next year,
the same level of student services would be
The administration recommended using a
larger portion of the student service fee to increase the subsidy to athletics. If implemented,
these recommendations would have placed a
strain on the student service fee. It appeared
that handicapped and veterans services, CTS
and Career Planning and Placement would be
cut. However, the proposals eventually were
To protest the proposed budget cuts, veteran
and handicapped students staged vigils outside
of the president's office. The president's proposals received negative media attention and
the administrators requested student leaders to
help by making recommendations on Student
Service Fee (SSF) allocations, thus SSFPAC
(Student Service Fee Planning and Allocation
Committee) was called on.
The SSFPAC report states that all funded
units were concerned that a negative reaction
might occur, such as retaining current students
and recruiting future students. The committee
then formed two subcommittees. The first subcommittee explored alternative solutions to the
pressing budget problems without negatively
impacting student services. The second subcommittee conducted a survey of student opinion in regards to a University Center Fee and
reviewed various methods with which such a fee
could be implemented.
SSFPAC then conducted a public meeting
that drew more than 300 students, faculty and
staff with questions about the recommendations of SSF allocations.
The final step in the process was the development of a Student Service Fee budget,
making no assumptions about a possible University Center fee. That budget was based on
the findings of the two subcommittees, the results of the survey, feedback from students,
faculty and staff, careful examination of programs, budgets and the president's plan and the
personal feelings of the committee members.
The committee then proposed a referendum
on a $15 per student per semester University
Center Fee which was approved in April, and
will be instituted in the fall 1988. This frees up
$800,000 to $900,000 of student service fee
money that was originally to be used for the UC
but now will be used for services such as CTS,
Career Planning and Placement, Handicapped
and Veterans Services.
The SSFPAC report states that currently,
the University of Houston's UC is recognized as
the largest facility of its kind in the state and
UH is the only senior, public university that
does not charge a separate student center fee.
Those fees range from $36 a semester at UT
Arlington to $5 a semester at Stephen F. Austin. UH-Downtown has a $25 a semester student center fee.
President Van Horn agreed to a number of
concessions if the referendum was approved,
— No more than $1.89 million of student
service fees will be designated for any one
SSF funded unit for 1988-89 and no more
than 35 percent of the fees generated for
the next four years will be dedicated to any
one funded unit, e.g. athletics.
— A primarily student committee will be established to make recommendations on
the allocation of all money raised through
the University Center Fee.
— The first $850,000 in funds generated
through the UC fee in 1988-89 will go to
operations of the University Center and
Satellite, with any excess funds put in reserve for repairs and renovations of the
The SSFPAC report says the committee intends to develop a student fee plan to be submitted for adoption by the president and the
Board of Regents. Such a plan would look at all
mandatory fees applied to most or all students,
but not tuition, compare UH to other Texas
public universities and the Urban 13, which
nationally are the 13 major public universities
in metropolitan cities, and examine not only
what the fees are but how they are administered
and spent, and look toward developing more
specifically to the purpose of each fee, with the
hope that this could reduce the annual debate
on what is appropriate. A possible model might
1. A student activities fee for student government, student programming, in-
tramurals and student publications.
"I think their (the students) voice is well heard,
but I don't hear an alternate solution" — V.P. Paul
Moore. Photo by Mark Lacy.
"I came here to get a good education, not to wfl^
a bunch of morons bang heads on a football field
— Dan Lilly, Drama Student. Photo by Mark Lacy.
174 University of Houston