posted on Nov. 24: Students approve increases in health services, recreation fees


Student Health Services and Athletics & Recreation were thrown a lifeline by students who voted “Yes” to fee increases this week.

“We're thrilled and very relieved,” said Julie Fairservice, Student Health Services clinic director.
“We will be able to maintain our current programs.”

In a MSU referendum held Tuesday and Wednesday, students were asked to approve an $8.75 health services fee increase and an $11.88 increase for athletics & recreation services.

Fairservice said if the fee increase — the first in 11 years — hadn't been approved, the clinic would have had to cut more programs, services and hours.

Two years ago health services cut the registered dietician and reduced physician and nurses' hours, she said.

Last year, health services started to charge fees for some services and this year weekend and evening hours were eliminated.

Fairservice said the increase does not mean any additional services can be offered. “Unfortunately, we can't offer a lot more for students,” she said.

Part of the fee increase will help health services pay a $108,000 annual occupancy fee levied when it takes over space in the new University Centre, she added.

Fairservice said she believed the vote was favourable this time because health services staff successfully conveyed to students how a negative vote would affect them. Staff made in-class presentations and communicated the implications in posters that were up around campus.

The University has agreed to match the fee increase on a “one-time” basis.

Students vetoed a similar fee increase during a referendum in February.

Athletics & recreation director Therese Quigley said the vote means the hours of operation and existing programs now offered will be maintained. If students had vetoed the increase, “the impact for next year would have resulted in further significant cuts,” she added.

Quigley said some cuts to operating hours were made in September, but the hours will be restored in January because students approved the increase. Although the fee increase won't be collected until September 2001, athletics & recreation staff decided demand, especially in January, warranted restoring hours as soon as possible.

For example, the athletics centre will open at 8 a.m. on Sundays in January, she said. “That's a big one,” said Quigley. “The reduced hours were problematic, especially in The Pulse, where there is an issue of overcrowding.”

Quigley said there have been several requests to open the Ivor Wynne Centre at 6 a.m. The facility is already open about 17 hours every day.
“It's a wonderful situation to be in,” she said. “It means we have a very active centre.”

The final results are: on the health services increase, 2,340 yes, 668 no; on the athletics & recreation fee increase, 2,464 yes and 530 no votes.