Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Heller-Ross advocates for mandatory tech fee increase

Dean of Library and Information Technology Systems and Chief Information Officer Holly Heller-Ross consulted with the Student Association regarding the proposed $25 annual increase in the mandatory Educational Technology Fee. 

The credit hour fee for all students affiliated with Plattsburgh State would bring the technology fee from $379 to $405 for this year’s budget. If passed, the proposal would require an additional $20 increase for the 2020-2021 budget. 

The fee covers expenses such as classroom technology, software, the management of Gmail accounts, running Moodle, Banner and Cardinal Star, student print quota and the library research database. Common area furniture that has not been replaced since 1979 would also get an upgrade. 

Heller-Ross stated she fears falling behind in the replacement of PSUCs technological assets. 

“I believe that [falling behind] harms students,” Heller-Ross said. “It harms your potential here and it harms your degree value.” 

Concerns from those in attendance of the SA meeting were not being able to afford the increase in fees and the continual increase of fees over the next few years. 

“I try to make sure they get back every bit of financial aid and scholarships possible,” Heller-Ross said. “In rare cases I’ll actually waive the fee for the student.” 

The SA will vote to either support or raise concerns about the proposal. In the end, the decision is SUNY’s and comes from the Chancellor’s office. 

A group of computer science students debated with the SA for almost half an hour to establish the Coding Club, which was ultimately approved by the senate. The club is similar to the Software Engineering Club which hosts the coding event, PlattsHacks. 

However, the Coding Club focuses more on creating software and releasing it to the student body rather than coordinating one large software engineering event. 

The main concern of the SA was the constitution of both technological clubs were almost the same, and questioned why the members could not merge into one large group with one set allocation of funds. 

The Coding Club is working on an app called Shuttler, which is a notification system that sends alerts to students regarding delays and arrival times to avoid confusion. 

The club also hopes to create an app that rates tutors on campus and allows for an exchange of feedback.

The SA meetings are held every Wednesday at 9:15 p.m. in the Cardinal Lounge of the Angell College Center.

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