Stop approving ridiculous fees

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Let’s add a dollar. What for? Whatever. It’s just a dollar.

The board of trustees approved a fee of $1 per semester for all students to fund study abroad scholarships beginning this fall.

You would think questions like, “how much will the scholarships give students?” and “how many scholarships will there be annually?” would’ve been figured out before approving the fee, but that would be far too sensible for our board.

Carol Fimmen, director of international studies, gave an entirely unconvincing pitch to the board in which she demonstrated how spectacularly little thought has gone into the fee.

She guessed the fee could pay for $1,000 scholarships, or maybe $200. Who knows? These things are complicated.

Fimmen told the board that a $200 deposit was required for all students who apply for the study abroad program, but that fee would be refunded if students don’t go through with the program.

She later told The Ranger the deposit is non-refundable.

When the board asked if the new fee could help pay for the $200 deposit, Fimmen responded as if she’d never considered the option, but eventually stumbled into a seemingly affirmative answer.

Clearly, Fimmen was prepared to tell the board whatever they wanted to hear to get this absurd fee added.

We’re sick of the board raising the cost of attending college for nonsense like this.

This same fee has been proposed to the Student Government Associations at the other Alamo Colleges previously. The students voted down the fee because it’s ridiculous to charge all students for a program that vaguely benefits a handful of students.

But who cares what students think, right?

The board decided they’re better suited than students to make such decisions and approved the program regardless.

District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante admitted, minutes before voting in favor of the fee, that, “It does not serve everyone. It just serves the students in that program.”

When student trustee Emmanuel Nyong brought up the issue of students potentially opposing the issue because study abroad doesn’t affect the majority, Chancellor Bruce Leslie responded firmly, “It’s a dollar.”

Yes, Dr. Leslie. It’s a dollar, but it’s my dollar. We don’t all make salaries of $403,123 plus benefits.

Figure out the specifics of fees before you approve them.

Better yet, stop adding fees altogether.

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