COLUMBIA — MU students voted Wednesday against an increase in tuition fees that would have gone toward increasing services at MU Libraries.
Students would have paid an additional $5 per credit hour in 2016-17. The fee would have increased to $15 per credit hour by 2021-22. With the “no” vote, MU Libraries will remain the university’s only academic division without funding from a student fee.
Fifty-four percent of the 7,820 students that cast a ballot voted against the measure.
Emma Henderson, the Board of Elections Commissioners chairwoman, believes a #FailtheFee Twitter campaign that advertised the fee as a $450 spike in annual tuition turned students off to the idea.
“That seemed to be what garnered the most attention,” Henderson said.
The Missouri Students Association ballot said the funding would have gone toward “continuation of newly implemented 24-hour access to library facilities; major renovations to enhance study spaces; expanded collections of electronic and print materials; innovative service.”
According to MU Libraries’ website, the annual library budget is $18 million. By the 2021-22 academic year if the measure had passed, the libraries would have had an estimated additional $12.9 million.
Joshua Tennison, the MSA Senate historian, was disappointed the fee wasn’t passed because of MU’s tenuous position as a member of the Association of American Universities. MU has been a member of the AAU since 1908.
“We are currently at the bottom of that accreditation, and we are at risk of being kicked out because we are such a low-quality research institution,” Tennison said. “We were funded to be a research institution, and that is something we are severely lacking in comparison to our fellow members.”
Amy Wasowicz, an MSA senator with the Journalism School, echoed that sentiment.
“It’s not just about renovating the spaces within the library,” Wasowicz said. “It’s making sure we have all the proper journals and research facilities to keep high quality professors that would help students retain the value of the degree they’re already paying for.”
The MSA presidential election was also on the ballot, but announcing the results has been postponed until 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Traditions Plaza. Two of the candidates received campaign infractions, and the election commissioners want to give them due process.
The votes for the library fee and MSA presidential election were supposed to be on Nov. 11 but were pushed back one week in the wake of UM System President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin’s resignations.
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