Student Body President Ruwayda Egal’s November email, sent out to the student body at 1:20 p.m. on Nov. 10, included a link to a survey on possible student activity fee increases. The student activity fee is decided by the Student Senate. The student media fee, which is included in the activity fee, is evaluated every five years by an ad hoc committee.
Egal declined to comment on the activity fee negotiation and the survey to The Times-Delphic during her office hours.
Drake students currently pay $178 per year for the student activity fee, $37.75 of which is allocated to student media, which includes The Times-Delphic, Drake Broadcasting System, Drake Magazine, Drake Political Review and Periphery. The student media fee has not been raised in a decade.
According to professor Lakshmi Tirumala, the faculty co-chair of the Board of Student Communications, Egal gave no indication at that morning’s ad hoc committee meeting that this survey would be sent out.
Several student publications heads, including Drake Magazine Editor-in-Chief and ad hoc committee member Nate Eisenmann, think the lack of context and information presented in the survey may have provoked emotional responses from students, especially due to the financial implications.
“I think [by] the way [the survey] was phrased, they’re hoping to get a clear answer that, no, students don’t want to see a fee increase,” Eisenmann said.
For a fee raise to go into effect, at least two bodies out of the Student Senate, Faculty Senate and the BSC have to approve it. The ad hoc committee is made up of two members from each of the three organizations, and it works to negotiate a solution.
In response to the survey, both students and faculty have been attempting to rally support for the fee increase. Some professors urged their classes to respond to the survey in support of student publications and students spread the word to other organizations and peers.
Professor Jeff Inman sent an email to all English and writing majors on Nov. 13 asking for support.
“If you support Drake’s campus publications, please be sure to share that support in the survey,” Inman said in the email. “Just as student organizations do, the student publications allow many Drake students to connect with one another and gain important insights about the campus, as well as prepare for professional careers.”