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Vortruba, SGA discuss credit hours, budget

Jenna Hunt, Jenna Hunt, and Jenna Hunt

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If misery loves company, then there is going to be a lot of company.
That is how President James Votruba described the current budget situation to the Student Government Association Jan. 12.
Votruba was quick to note his presentation was not a proposal, but a briefing for SGA to know what may be in store for students.
‘This is the biggest recessions in my life and the biggest financial challenge in my life,’ Votruba said. ‘This is serious.’
Votruba briefed over the possibility charging 25 percent per-credit-hour if a student takes between 13 to 17 credit hours a semester.
During his presentation, Votruba cited if a student drops a class between Sept. 3 and Sept. 15 there is no lost in tuition for 30 percent of students, though 70 percent of student loss between $68 and $408 in non-refundable tuition.
He said that dropped classes are a problem because courses are booked to room capacity and when students drop after the add/drop period, there is no opportunity to fill the vacant seat.
Vice President Melissa Koppenhoefer brought up a concern that some students might drop down to 12 credit hours to save money.
However, Votruba said that after reviewing data from other universities, many students wouldn’t drop down to 12 hours due to the tuition increase. They would maintain their current number of classes.
‘I’m not trying to squeeze more money out of students,’ Votruba said. ‘Tuition is so high cause state allocation (for NKU) is so low.’
Votruba added this briefing was all about fairness and justice: ‘paying for what you take makes sense.’
He also added that other schools such as Morehead State University, Southern Illinois University and Kentucky Community and Technical Community School (KCTCS) have already implemented charging per credit hour.
As another point in the briefing, Votruba said he has no plans to remove jobs, adding they have ‘not frozen any faculty positions, but have frozen some staff positions.’
Consequently, he is pushing for more student employment.
One core NKU value Votruba plans to keep is small class sizes, unlike some other universities who have been in the same situation.
‘Most universities double or triple their classes or hire more part-time faculty.’
Votruba added that this core value includes the famous NKU teacher-student relationship, where many professors know students by name and are able to meet outside of the classroom.
He noted that the university ‘has cut everywhere but there because we want to protect those qualities.’
Another point in the briefing was a note that full scholarships will not be affected, though the university is looking into other financial aid.
Votruba plans to have a full presentation to give to SGA at their Jan. 26 meeting and a formal presentation by Feb. 9.
Throughout it all, Votruba said he is just ‘planning for the worst but hoping for the best.’
Also at this meeting, SGA passed three resolutions.
The first resolution presented was the ‘Bicycle Rack Resolution,’ which requests the expansion of bicycle racks throughout campus.
The resolution cites that ‘many students living on campus, as well as those in the surrounding areas, ride bicycles to class’hellip;There are currently a limited amount of bicycle racks placed on campus causing students to lock their bicycles around columns, benches and rails not designed for this purpose.’
The second resolution brought to the table was the ‘Club Sports Resolution,’ which requests an additional $25,000 for club sports organizations.
According to the resolution, ‘the number of club sports organizations is currently at 21 and thereby limited to expansion.’
Sen. Dennis Chaney suggested to reduce the amount requested to $16,000 in light of the recent budget crisis.
However, fellow Sen. Mike Johnson said the resolution request should stay at $25,000, even though club sports most likely won’t get the amount at first. Whenever money is made available, club sports might get some of the requested amount.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Vortruba, SGA discuss credit hours, budget