Senate President Donna Mercado Kim is strongly urging University of Hawaii officials not to balance a potential $2 million budget deficit by raising student fees. Through a senate resolution, she points out the already high student fees per semester that amount to $1,400,000 per year to the UH Athletics Department. Students currently pay a $50 mandatory fee per semester.
Officials have blamed the deficit on a disappointing 1-11 football season with low ticket sales and the inability to meet a $1 million fundraising goal. However, although acknowledging these facts, the resolution also points out that the discontent and dissatisfaction of some longtime financial supporters with the leadership and transparency of the Board of Regents and the President, and their public statements on no longer contributing funds.
“University officials made bad leadership decisions and now we are seeing the result of them,” said Kim. “Why are we asking our students to pay for the shortfalls of university decision makers? We shouldn’t allow students to shoulder the burden of the UH Athletics Department or any other department.”
According to the resolution, student fees should be based on an objective criteria or an appropriate formula rather than an apparently arbitrary amount decided by the University. It goes on to say that if fees are raised to close a budget deficit, once it is balanced, those fees should be reduced accordingly.
“This is not what we want to teach our future generation of leaders,” she added. “By passing the buck to them, we’re saying ‘Look, if you make a mistake and don’t meet expectations, you can just force someone else to deal with it.’”