Although students will still have to pay an increased dining contract fee, they may get a break paying for quad fees in the future.
Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said he plans to eliminate the $54 annual Quadrangle & First Year Housing fee beginning Fall 2012. The decision is unofficial until the Board of Trustees approves the budget at its February or May meeting, but Moneta expressed confidence that the Board will approve the fee’s elimination.
“It would be hard for me to imagine that they would not be supportive,” Moneta said, noting that the initiative falls in line with ongoing Duke Administrative Reform Team efforts, which began eliminating inefficiencies across the University in February 2009.
The quad fee currently funds residence life team efforts, including events hosted by quad councils, resident assistant and residence coordinators. Central Campus residents do not pay quad dues.
Moneta, who has been working to implement this change throughout the past month, said these programming activities will not be eliminated and will instead be funded internally from the Residence Life and Housing Services operating budget. Moneta added that the RLHS budget is about $40 million and called the absorbance of the fee by the RLHS budget “part of a much bigger array of continued management improvements.”
“It made sense for [programming funding] to come directly from the operating budget,” said Associate Dean for Residence Life Joe Gonzalez.
This is not the only recent change to student fees, however. Students will continue to pay more for the semester dining contract fee, which was raised from $19.50 to $90 last Spring. Although Duke Student Government President Mike Lefevre, a senior, initially agreed to a one-year increase in the contract fee, the University plans to extend the $90 fee until at least fiscal year 2013, which ends June 30, 2013.
Moneta noted that the changes to the two fees were made “independently,” however.
Lefevre said the cut of the quad fee signals that the University is capable of cutting other student fees in the future.
“They really are making an effort to eliminate these fees,” he said. “To me what this says is that I am sure that there are other opportunities to reduce fees.”
Moneta said he does not have immediate plans to make any further cuts to student fees, but added that the University will look “very carefully” at dining and housing with the arrival of Rick Johnson, assistant vice president of housing and dining, in January.
“Due diligence requires persistent effort,” Moneta said.
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Lefevre, who said the decision to eliminate the quad fee was pitched to him at a meeting with administrators in early October, spoke highly of the decision.
“I wish I could say that it was my idea but it wasn’t,” he said.