I was just looking through Google news (news.google.com) and a disturbing story out of Texas A&M popped up (link).
In a nutshell a candidate for student body president is proposing doing away with fees paid to services such as their Writing Center since it is "not used by all students" and "could be changed to being paid for based on usage instead of a blanket fee for all students." When I went to the A&N WC web site, I discovered that students fees for the service for everyone is $8.00 per semester. So all undergraduate students are paying $16.00 per year to pay to keep the Writing Center open. Now granted this person has not won election and (as we all know) student body officers cannot necessarily make such sweeping decisions on their own (but I'm not familar at all with how it works at A&M), but it does sound an alarm to me that attitudes like this can affect the work we do.
I am curious if others have faced such a situation as the folks at A&M are now apparently facing, and how you dealt with it. Is this a problem with using student fees for funding services like the writing center rather than having a straight-line budget from the institution itself?
I didn't want to sound alarmist, but I wanted to start a discussion of funding sources and whether using student fees really works well. Aren't students always going to say "I don't use that" therefore it should be a pay-as-you-go service?