The Rebel Yell releases a full recording and partial transcript of the Nevada Student Alliance meeting in which undergraduate student body president Sarah Saenz and CSUN Nevada Student Affairs director Ricardo Cornejo discuss their stance on the 8 percent increase in resident student fees that the board of regents approved later that day. As referenced in this article.
NSA TRANSCRIPT, Dec 01 2011, comments of SARAH SAENZ, RICARDO CORNEJO and CRYSTAL ABBA
This recording was taken by then-Rebel Yell Assistant News Editor Ian Whitaker, and was used in the production of news articles printed in the Dec. 5 and Dec. 13 editions of The Rebel Yell and online at unlvrebelyell.com.
The following is a summary transcript of important statements made by UNLV undergraduate leaders and Nevada System of Higher Education representatives in a meeting of the Nevada Student Alliance just hours before the NSHE Board of Regents deliberated on tuition increases of up to 13 percent for all Nevada undergraduates.
The NSA represents higher education students in the state of Nevada, and advocates on behalf of those students at the state legislative level and before the NSHE Board of Regents. The body is made up of graduate and undergraduate student body presidents of each NSHE institution in the state, and meets just hours prior to sessions of the board of regents to discuss everything from normal business to stances that the NSA will take on behalf of students.
This meeting of the Nevada Student Alliance took place the morning of Dec. 1 2011, in a conference room on the second floor of the UNLV Student Union. After two days of deliberating on tuition increases, the board of regents voted to increase tuition by 8 percent the second day of its general session, on Dec. 2 2011.
Timecode in recording, CURRENT SPEAKER/EVENT
-39:45, NSHE VICE CHANCELLOR CRYSTAL ABBA is in the middle of introducing NSHE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT AFFAIRS RENEE DAVIS, who will take over for ABBA as NSHE liaison to the NSA beginning this meeting.
-39:09, ROLL CALL
Mr. Alex Porter, Great Basin College
Mr. Scott Gaddis, Truckee Meadows Community College
Mr. Michael J. Gordon, UNLV Graduate and Professional Student Association
Mr. Steve Gronstal, Desert Research Institute
Ms. Mikayla Morgan, Nevada State College
Ms. Sarah Saenz, University of Nevada, Las Vegas/CSUN
Ms. Heather Dodson, Western Nevada College
-37:30, NSA CHAIR AND CSN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT AIMEE RILEY arrives and speaks about voter registration efforts at the College of Southern Nevada.
-33:50, RILEY introduces the item to discuss potential 5, 8 and 13 percent tuition increases on Nevada resident undergraduates to be decided on during the subsequent Board of Regents meetings.
-32:36 to -31:59, UNLV UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT SARAH SAENZ
“I mean, obviously we wouldn’t want a tuition increase either, but we’re expecting probably about a 5 to 8 increase, so we are looking into a zero to ten percent, and then making sure that money is going places … our fight is where that money is going to go once we get another tuition increase, which I think is quite possible. Our fight is not ‘no tuition increase,’ only because I think they are voting on it … it’s where the money is going to go.”
-31:59, NSHE VICE CHANCELLOR CRYSTAL ABBA explains that the Board of Regents would weigh the stances of the NSA in its decision about raising tuition, and tells the NSA not to support the tuition increases just because student leaders might think it’s “a foregone conclusion.”
-30:50, ABBA leaves to answer a phone call. NSA representatives continue discussion of tuition increases.
-27:27 to -27:00, UNLV UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT SARAH SAENZ
“But since the budget is set, you know, kind of off of what you are saying, it would all go back to our institutions, this fee increase. And that’s why the presidents did the proposal. So, whichever stance we take, we know that that money will be coming to our institutions to better serve those students that are already facing those increases. Put into student services, put into things that are really going to make a difference.”
-27:00, NSHE VICE CHANCELLOR CRYSTAL ABBA
“Guys, did you look at your presidents proposal? Yeah, it’s not coming back to student services *unintelligible*”
ABBA continues talking at -24:54
“Now, because your budget has already been set, you’re going to get to go through this whole thing again in a year. The [legislative] session will start, we’ve got to rebuild our budgets … and at that time they build those, they build them on whatever new fee increases. You’re going to get to go through this whole thing in another year anyway, there are no guarantees.
You guys just have to decide the extent to which you wanna continue … because when you support it, the reality of it is that it makes it very easy for the board to vote ‘yes.’ How easy do you want to make it for the board? That’s what you’ve got to ask yourself.
I’ll … ok, don’t repeat this and don’t put this in the minutes. Do we have a student reporter here? [ABBA addresses Rebel Yell reporter Ian Whitaker] Don’t put this in there.
If I were you, I would say no … *next few statements unintelligible* … So if it was me, I personally would not support it, because I know that for the next session, there is going to be another [tuition] increase.”
-23:40, ABBA and NSA reps continue discussion of the tuition increase.
-4:25 to -1:20, CSUN NEVADA STUDENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR RICARDO CORNEJO
“The reason why we were taking a look at why the increase would be beneficial, is because we know that UNLV has downsized a lot compared to other institutions. We did cut a lot, and we feel that based on the proposed tuition increases and where they would go, we do feel that it is congruent with what we are trying to … reform the funding formula to … or what we would like to see in the funding formula, which is a lot of funding allocated to schools based on performance, based on graduation numbers.
So we thought that there was somewhat of a correlation or a link between the tuition increase and where those monies would go in our institution, and supporting the fact that we were going to be graduating more students. So it’s kind of like supporting the same mission, so that’s why we said we would be looking to support something along the lines of up to 8% [tuition increase]. Now we do acknowledge the fact that the 4-Point Plan that the Chancellor said that, ‘well, we’re only going to have a 13% increase and that’s it, and we are going to leave it open-ended in that sense, looking to adopt more tuition increases in the future … That’s the reason why we would go upwards of 8% after we looked at where the funds would go in particular institutions.
But that’s the only reason why we feel we should have a tuition increase, because we do feel that, even though there won’t be specific services being funded by the increase, they would be at least more services indirectly in faculty and hiring faculty and hiring the full time staff that is needed to perhaps focus on our retention and our graduation rates. That’s the reason why we said up to 8% we would be willing to consider that. I don’t know if that clears our stance or where we were coming from … it was some the fact that ‘we might see it coming,’ but it was more of, ‘so we see our students benefiting from this increase because UNLV has downsized a lot.’
And we really want our students to have a quality education so, and the feeling on campus is ‘yeah you know, we don’t like paying more, but we also want a quality education,” and we know that UNLV is a young institution and that perhaps we are not doing the best in the state in providing that quality education, perhaps these monies would help us enhance that education quality.”
END OF TRANSCRIPT