Board of Trustees OKs cable TV, fee increase

Rani Gupta

The Board of Trustees has approved proposals for cable television in dorm rooms and an increase in the Student Activities Fee, William Banis, vice president for student affairs, told The Daily on Monday.

The proposals will add more than $140 annually to tuition for the next five years.

Students will pay $121.20 per year for cable television, which will be available through their computer’s ethernet connection. Testing of the new technology began Monday in four dorms.

The $21 increase in the activity fee raises the annual bill students pay for student group events to $120.

The Associated Student Government approved both proposals Feb. 27. In a February online poll, 56 percent of 2,327 students voted for cable television.

Associated Student Government President Jordan Heinz said he expects widespread support for the cable plan because students have demanded cable “as far as institutional memory lasts.”

Heinz, an Education senior, said concern this year centered on the plan’s cost and unfamiliar technology. But he said wiring cable through computers was cheaper than wiring through televisions and will provide Northwestern dorms with up-to-date technology.

“If you ask students a year from now … I think they will be pleased,” he said.

The activities fee increase will allow student groups to have an additional $120,000 for programming, said Le’Jamiel Goodall, ASG financial vice president.

The Student Activities Finance Board, which allocates funding for A-status groups, will release its group recommendations at Wednesday’s ASG meeting. Account officials took into account the anticipated activities fee increase when calculating next year’s budget, Goodall said.

This year student groups requested about $1.5 million, an amount larger than previous years, Goodall said.

“I’m ecstatic they passed the (fee) increase,” said Goodall, a Speech junior. “A lot of the requests this year include a lot more meritorious programming. Therefore, the increase will proportionally help those requests.”

But Jason Warren, ASG rules chairman, said the lobbying process for the fee increase was tainted by senators who prioritized student group interests over those of their constituents.

“It would have been better to have waited to get an accurate poll of student opinion, especially because we were going to slap them with cable,” said Warren, a Speech sophomore.

Trustee Benjamin Slivka said he voted for the cable proposal after seeing student support for the plan.

“I personally don’t approve of television, but you guys all voted for it,” Slivka told The Daily on April 4. “If they wanted to pay more money, who am I to say no?”