New security fee to replace current parking fee

The Student Government Association president Ellie Gunderson proposed a new security fee that will take away the cost of purchasing a parking permit sticker from out of pocket, and will include the fee in student tuition.

The security fee proposed is a general fee that will help in funding the police department, information technology department for internet security, and any other source of safety on campus students and faculty see fit.

Students will be able to submit safety issue ideas to SGA or the police department on where the fee revenue should go.

The security fee will take the place of the parking decal fee some students pay for. The goal is to cut down on the cost by combining it with tuition.

Gunderson said the idea for a new security fee came because of criticism from students on the price of parking decals.

“The first day of school, we saw and heard a ton of backlash on campus about how expensive the parking decals were, so we thought about what to do to take away the extra fee. We know it is a drag to have to pay that much out of pocket,” Gunderson said. “We tried to think of a way to do it more effectively and generate money for the campus and make it cheaper on students.”

If the Board of Regents pass the security fee will be $50 per semester and $25 for summer semesters, and all students will pay it, not just those with cars on campus.

Gunderson said the revenue from the new fee will go to any number of issues regarding student safety on campus.

“So, it [the fee] is funding the police department, safety measures on campus and IT security,” Gunderson said “College campuses are at risk all the time for internet hackers getting into school files, so we are trying to get new programs for situations like that.”

Gunderson said, the security fee will also go toward safety issues students and faculty members see fit, generating more than $140,000 in additional revenue.

Gunderson said the money could be used to repair faulty lighting, building another sidewalk or anything that would inhibit a students safety.

Chief of Police Patrick Coggins said universities and colleges all over the nation use this type of security fee.

“This is not an unheard-of fee. Many colleges across the nation enforce this fee and it has been a way at other institutions, to fund various safety measures, including security or law enforcement departments,” Coggins said.

Coggins said the university already funds a security function specifically, through having a police department on campus.

“MSU has had a police department for decades now, and the purpose of the police department is for both the security of the campus, as well as to perform the law enforcement function on the state university,” Coggins said.

Although a police department is already on campus, Coggins said depending on revenue, other safety measures could be implemented.

“Depending on funds a revenue there are other safety measures that could be implemented. But as I mentioned, the university already has a police department so I am not sure your average student would see any additional measures,” Coggins said.

If the new security fee is approved by the Board of Regents, parking decals will still be required to maintain a parking management system.

“If the fee is formally approved, the plan going forward is for us to still maintain the decal and parking management system,” Coggins said “The system would pretty much be seamless from the perspective of students, the only thing students would visually see is that students won’t have to pay an additional money for the decal, they would be entitled to it.”

John Contreras, geology senior, said the proposal makes sense but should clarify how the fee will aid the safety measures on campus.

“More information on how the money is being used would benefit students, on why it is being applied. I see more fees and get frustrated but knowing what I would get out of it would ease my mind,” Contreras said.

Dalena Pham, radiology senior, said adding the fee to tuition making paying for a parking permit by the semester you attend, is a better way to decrease student cost, although students who didn’t buy a permit will now have to pay $50 more.

“Such as a student being a commuter, but only comes to school for spring and fall, should have a smaller fee as to a student who wants a permit for the full year, (fall, spring, both summers),” Pham said.