Category: News

JSU generated over $8.3 million in fees from Fall 2018, Spring 2019 semesters

By Scott Young

News Editor

Each student who was enrolled at Jacksonville State University in the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters paid a $200 ‘general university fee’ on top of numerous other small fees and hundreds of dollars in tuition per credit hour.

Buffy Lockette, JSU’s public relations director, provided a breakdown of the general university fee from the JSU Controller’s office as well as information about how the allocations are decided.

Of the $200 fee, $60 went to transportation, $40 to student health, $35 to university recreation, $35 to the library, $15 to classroom improvements, $10 to capital planning and facilities and $5 to ‘special projects’. The special project for the 2018-2019 fiscal year was labeled ‘Marching Southerners’.

For Spring 2019, the university initially allocated $35 of the $200 fee to university recreation. Lockette later stated that the $35 for university recreation allocated in Spring 2019 was “re-allocated internally in the spring to capital projects to support technology upgrades in the classroom.” However, the $35 for university recreation in Fall 2018 was not reallocated.

“The Tuition and Fees Committee makes a recommendation each year to the President and VP of Business and Finance [James Brigham] and those recommendations are reviewed and presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at the April trustee meeting,” said Lockette.

According to Blake Hunter, the coordinator of Institutional Research at JSU, during the fall semester of 2018, there were 8,479 students enrolled at JSU and in the spring semester of 2019 there were 7,726 students enrolled.

On average, Jacksonville State University students pay just shy of $4,000 for tuition each semester, not including fees. The JSU ‘general university fee’ generated an estimated $3,241,000 from both Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 alone, while the Recreation and Fitness Center fee, technology fee and student activity fee brought in an estimated $5,104,575.

Lockette went on to state that the fee allocations for the Fall 2019 semester have not been decided, and that fees for the upcoming semesters will be bundled and charged per credit hour.

Summer Fee Graphic
Infographic shows the 95 percent and 5 percent split of the $200 Summer General University Fund.

 

For the summer, students taking between one to three credit hours pay a $100 general university fee and students taking three or more credit hours pay $200. However, despite the $100 difference between these two fees, students who paid $100 and those who paid $200 both have equal access to the Recreation Center for the entire summer.

Lockette confirmed that during the Summer 2019 semester, 95 percent of the general university fee was allocated to the Recreation and Fitness Center, while the remaining five percent is allocated for student health.

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JSU Public Relations Director Buffy Lockette confirmed the breakdown of the Summer General University Fee with this document above.

 

“As long as a student is taking at least one class, they will have access into the facility for the whole summer,” said Cecelia Chavez, the coordinator of facility operations for the Recreation Center.

Ashley Stephens, an art major at JSU who is taking summer classes, expressed dissatisfaction with the university over the two different fee amounts for equal summer Recreation Center access.

“As someone who is taking 11 hours and knowing that people taking only 3 hours don’t have to pay as much as me for fees makes me mad,” said Stephens. “It’s not fair to me and anyone who is trying to continue their education. This isn’t good for students’ pockets, and it’s not good for JSU’s image.”

Students like Emily Barfield, a cellular and molecular biology major, have no problem with allowing all summer students equal access to a facility she denotes as “necessary”.

“I’m taking six credit hours this summer so I paid the $200general university fee. I am not bothered that students who only paid $100 get to use the same recreation center that I get to use,” said Barfield. “On the other hand, I would be bothered if they just let any student, regardless if they were taking classes or not, use the recreation center after we had to pay the fee.”

The breakdown of where the general university fee is allocated is not readily available on the JSU website, nor is it reflected on students’ accounts when paying tuition and fees. The Chanticleer obtained the information by contacting Buffy Lockette, who then requested the information from the Controller’s office.

Stephens argues that the university should be more public with information pertaining to tuition and fees, including where the general university fee is allocated.

“I know most people want to know where their money is going,” said Stephens. “I think it can make the university look shady and like they’re withholding information from the students and their parents.”

Barfield sided with the university, citing the methods and practices of other universities.

“I looked into that [public accessibility of fee breakdown] with other universities and no other universities had anything about their fees or where the money actually goes posted on their websites,” said Barfield. “As much backlash as JSU has gotten from this recreation fee, I think they may even be less open about things moving forward.”

Lockette defends the university’s process of deliberating tuition and fee changes. She describes the Tuition and Fees committee as a “diverse mix of faculty, staff and students.”

“All trustee meetings are open to the public, the SGA President has a seat at the table, and the President’s office always sends a reminder email inviting the Chanticleer to attend,” said Lockette.

Editor’s note: Fees have been applied to student accounts for students who are already enrolled in fall classes. Starting in fall of 2019, the “General University Fee” covers all other fees (excluding individual program fees.) For students taking more than six hours this coming semester, the flat rate is $700, which is an $113 increase from previous semesters (based on an average student’s 12 hour semester.) For more information on the fall fees, visit JSU’s Office of Student Accounts page at http://www.jsu.edu/bursar/fees/index.html and look for a new article from The Chanticleer soon regarding the changes to the fee structure.

Summer Rec Center fee has students feeling the burn

Scott Young

Chanticleer News Editor

Students not enrolled in the summer semester do not have access to the new Recreation and Fitness Center and must pay for summer access. Summer access for those who are not enrolled, but finished the previous semester is $190 for the entire summer semester, $95 for half a semester or $49 monthly.

The $32 million dollar Rec Center was mired in controversy earlier this year for implementing a mandatory $190 fee per semester beginning Spring 2019. Many students have criticized the move to not allow summer access to those not enrolled, saying that their $190 fee per semester should cover year round costs and allow them access.

“I think the summer fee is ridiculous. Students have always been able to use Stephenson for free in the summer and the pool in Pete Matthews. The Recreation Center should be no different,” said a JSU student, who asked to remain anonymous. “JSU should have told students about the summer fee way before the summer approached but everyone found out around mid April which is not fair.”

Stephenson Hall, the previous student fitness facility on campus, allowed students to have access year-round. Many have criticized the summer access policy because it deviates from the access that Stephenson provided.

“I think it’s outrageous. I personally used the facility pretty often,” said Jacob Roberson, a music education major. “We’re college students, not financial moguls. I get that the university has to make their money, but jeez that’s a lot for a gym membership. It makes me sad that’s the reason I can’t maintain my new hobby of rock climbing.”

Not all students have issues with the mandatory summer fee, however.

“I can understand the annoyance of students who aren’t taking summer classes but work and live in Jacksonville. At the same time though, I feel as if would be unfair for the students who did have to pay that fee to watch students who didn’t pay any fees gain access to the Rec Center,” said Jerod Sharp, SGA Vice President of Student Senate.

Sharp goes on to argue that students are capable of paying for monthly access to the Rec Center if you have a job and are good at balancing a budget.

“In the end, we have to pay the Rec Center off because we’re under a contract to do so,” said Sharp.

 

Saying Goodbye…

Hecjin me

Daniel Mayes, Editor-in-Chief


Well, here we are.

The best and fastest four years of my life is coming to a close.

I’ve been dreading writing this almost as much as I have graduating and leaving. Even now, I’m sitting here struggling to come up with adequate words to describe what Jacksonville, Jacksonville State University, and The Chanticleer have meant to me over these years, and how much I’ll miss them.

Here’s what I got:

Jacksonville gave me a home. It really is true what they say about Jacksonville, Alabama. You don’t know how to describe it or to explain it, but it’s home. Four years has seen me fall in love with a town, get emotionally ripped to shreds as I watched it get demolished by a tornado, and feel myself get stitched back together as the town itself was.

Jacksonville State University gave me a family. Aside from the education I’ve received here, the most important thing I think JSU has brought me is the people it’s introduced into my life. From all the friends I have made, to connections with professors I’ve established, and an introduction to someone I plan on making a part of my life for a long, long time. The Friendliest Campus in the south is such an accurate description of Jacksonville State.

The Chanticleer gave me a path. From starting out as a volunteer staff sports writer to being in charge (for better or worse) of the whole thing, my time working on The Chanticleer has taken someone with no real guidance on what they wanted to do with their life other than a love of sports and turned him into someone with slightly more guidance on what they want to do with their life other than a love of sports (just kidding). My experiences here have inspired me to walk headfirst into a declining and evolving industry with the resolve of I’m going to make it or go broke trying. Experiences like getting to cover an actual real-life March Madness game for Jacksonville State in 2017 have made me realize that this whole sports journalism thing is something I’m just meant to do. I hope I’ve helped to lead The Chanticleer in the right direction in my short time involved

To anyone who’s gotten any information or enjoyment out of anything I’ve written, said, or tweeted about Jacksonville or Jacksonville State sports over the past few years, thanks for letting me do what I love for the place I love. I hope I’ve been worthy of the level of coverage the outstanding community of Jacksonville State deserves. It’s been a pleasure to do what I could to serve what really makes this place special: its people.

Thank you, Jacksonville, and goodbye.

(For now at least)

Firebird reaches ‘Ultimate’ goal

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Photo Courtesy of @JSUFirebird

JP Wood, Staff Reporter


Football school? Basketball school? Marching band school?

How about ultimate frisbee school?

JSU’s Ultimate team- known as Firebird Ultimate- is making some noise across the region on the ultimate field. The team, still in its infancy as a program, competed in and won their very first sanctioned tournament earlier this month at UAB.

For program founder Andrew Record, this is the culmination of three years of hard work and team building to reach this very point. “This year we finally felt like we were ready. We had beat some teams that were sanctioned earlier and realized we could really start competing.”

Record, set to graduate in May, was part of a pick-up group within the Southerners when he got the idea to start an organized university team.

“I did as much to educate myself on the sport and get better, because I had hadn’t really played competitively before. After that the biggest thing was just recruiting. And that’s the hardest thing to do in any sport, is to get people to commit.” 

Firebird started out in a developmental league for their first two years. These years saw the team playing mostly B-teams and other upstarts. After a non-sanctioned tournament in Samford in the fall which saw JSU Firebird finish second overall, the team realized they were ready for the next level.

That brought them to UAB for their first sanctioned tournament: The Magic City Invite. Entering play as the dead-last #12 seed, JSU upset #1 seed UAB 11-4 in their first game of pool play. JSU would finish pool play undefeated, taking down Middle Tennessee State, Berry, Alabama, and Ole Miss en-route to the four-team playoff the next day. In bracket play, JSU would then defeat North Georgia and Mississippi State to claim the tournament title.

Seven major wins over two days and a first-place finish, all in their first taste of sanctioned play? Not bad.

For Record, this is just the stepping off point for a program with a very high ceiling. To be performing at this level in only its third season is pretty significant. “It’s a big deal for a team this young to be defeating teams that have existed for five, ten, twenty years already, and I think we can keep building upon that.”

JSU Firebird will compete in a sectional tournament this weekend, that will see them face off against teams within their section—teams like Alabama, Auburn, UAB, and Mississippi State. A high finish there will see them move on to regionals where they will matchup with teams from all over the southeast.

With Record’s graduation next month, the program he’s shepherded from the beginning will be passed on to someone else’s hands. In fact, he’s already named two new captains this year in order to prepare them to fully take over next year. One of those captains, Luke Thomas, looks to help the program succeed well into the future.

“Success is not necessarily just from winning, but also seeing the program grow.” he says. Success, he says, starts off the field with recruitment. He also wants to see the team make deep postseason runs and compete in larger tournaments. Under his leadership, he wants to see the team continue its upward trajectory in both wins and recruitment.

JSU Firebird has already initiated one move toward growth: A women’s team. Captained by Emily Yeend, the women’s team is new as of this semester.

“In the fall, the goal is to at least attend one tournament just for fun,” Yeend says. She says that in the past, girls at rookie week can be overwhelmed, and that one goal of the women’s team is to have prospective female players less likely to be intimidated. “I’m trying to get girls interested in playing, because a lot don’t even know what it is.”

If you’re interested in joining the JSU Ultimate team, keep an eye out for their rookie week announcements at the beginning of the fall semester. Rookie week is an opportunity for new players to come out and play with other new players to ease in to the game. If you’ve never played before, don’t let that turn you away. According to the JSU Ultimate website, most players don’t actually learn the game until they reach college.

For more information on the sport and the program here at JSU, jsuultimate.com has an FAQ section with more resources.

It’s time for all Greek organizations to get the due credit they deserve

greek awards.jpg
Photo Courtesy of JSU

Patrick Yim, Staff Writer

“Greek Life” is something that is an apparent staple on most college campuses nationwide. Many people don’t realize that there are a few different categories of what we know as Greek Life. Jacksonville State University has roughly 40 different Greek lettered organizations on its campus that are separated into honor, professional, service, and social categories. However, the Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) office at JSU only actively recognizes the sixteen social organizations in the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), National Pan-hellenic Council (NPHC), and North American Interfraternity Council (IFC). There are those who don’t believe that professional fraternities and Greek honor societies should be involved in the FSL because they are not strictly social organizations specifically set within their specific councils. However, many students, myself included, wonder why those social Greek organizations not under a specific council are not treated with the same standards or respect as the council members.

A primary example is the organization Sigma Alpha Omega. This organization is a social sorority that also has a Christian focus and background. However, while a recognized organization by the Student Government Association, they are not recognized or supported by the Fraternity and Sorority Life office.

In the past, comments discussing Sigma Alpha Omega have been deleted from the JSU Fraternity and Sorority Life social media, which has raised red flags for many students. A member from the JSU Panhellenic Conference said it was done because Sigma Alpha Omega was not on one of the social councils. However, at the time, the FSL social media and JSU website stated that the Fraternity and Sorority Life pages were for all social greek organizations. It has since been updated and changed.The professional fraternities and Greek honor societies are also facing a disadvantage when it comes to recognition and support on social media outside of their individual profiles.

“Our campus is very biased when it comes to the social organizations. We have no representation outside of our personal pages. It is only about their councils,” said Noelani Haberlin, who recently finished serving as president of the Tau Phi Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi. This fraternity is professional-based fraternity with a business focus.

“Marketing from inside our personal organizations is important, but when students come for things such as preview days or orientations, [social organizations] are the ones who get the resources from the school to look better, which gives them an upper hand when it comes to their recruitments. If they would help promote us, even in the slightest bit, it would help us so much. Incoming freshmen have no idea that we exist most times. They are told about IFC, Panhellenic, and NPHC, but they aren’t told about us.”

One of the more concerning issues regarding equal standards with all Greek organizations is in regards to hazing. While at anti-hazing events this fall semester, which are mandatory to attend for all organizations under the Fraternity and Sorority Life office, the administration acknowledged their awareness that some organizations outside of the FSL office have been known for hazing. They encouraged students to speak up if they hear about any incidents, but a big issue is that groups outside of the FSL office are not given the same prevention and awareness training. Some say it doesn’t even matter.

One student who has served with the JSU National Panhellenic Conference this past year said, “I think it is similar to how the D.A.R.E. [America] program works. We can tell people not to do it, but you know. For instance, after the hazing prevention video, I heard some of the fraternity guys saying how they thought that it was all just a bunch of crap.”

At the same time, FSL believes that all the organizations should be held to the same standards. “If one of our social organizations has an incident, we would be in serious and immediate trouble, would be put on probation and would be dealt with immediate consequences. It is mandatory for our organizations to go to these prevention and awareness events but not for professionals or honors. All of these groups, social and professional, are supposed to be brotherhoods and sisterhoods, and it is hard if you don’t feel safe in the organizations, or you aren’t properly trained.”

A prime example is the recent situation surrounding the organization Kappa Kappa Psi, which is a service fraternity. According to members and the administration, the organization has recently been dealt a blow with hazing allegations against the chapter. Due to the incident, JSU has suspended the chapter from campus until the year 2025. As stated previously, administration has acknowledged that hazing has actively occurred in other areas of campus.

If administration knew that this was happening outside of the social FSL organizations, why was nothing done beforehand to help curb this issue affecting outside organizations? FSL is always trying to improve themselves, even more so in the last few years. Due to this, why has no one in or outside the office looked into this sooner.  With negativity towards “Greek Life” nationwide increasing due to hazing incidents, high prices of dues, sexual assault allegations and other factors, it has become extremely important to show incoming students, families, and the local communities that people in Greek lettered organizations are not just stereotypes.

This is something that JSU FSL has been trying to curve with the #knowgreek campaign started by Fraternity and Sorority Life Coordinator Josh Robinson. When the campaign began, some of the professional organization members and leaders also started using the hashtag to help raise awareness about their organizations and issues that are regularly overlooked. They were asked to stop by a member of the JSU National Panhellenic Conference and have since been mostly using #gogreekgoprofessional.

Many people don’t realize that professional fraternities and the Greek honor societies face most of the same issues as social organizations. Regardless of professional, social, honor, or service status, all of these organizations use the Greek letters the same.

“When I see [Greek] letters, I honestly just see them all as Greek life,” said JSU student Dejah Estes. When she first arrived at JSU as a freshman, Estes was heavily interested in rushing for a social sorority. Unfortunately, due to funds and time she was unable to rush.

“I think either social or professional would have been beneficial. They all have their own things that make them good choices. If I had the time and funds, I would even consider joining both a professional and social organization.”

At this point, there are many issues that Greek individuals face. Many students, especially those involved in professional organizations, have voiced their concerns, but they unfortunately have not been fully heard. One suggestion has been for the university to hire someone who is solely dedicated to supporting, promoting, working with, and tracking the progress of professional fraternities and Greek honor societies. Not only would this help give the non council and professional organizations the support that they have been asking for and need, but this would ensure the organizations have someone to report to who could make sure that all groups are following standards and are given proper training to prevent hazing.

Could this not be accomplished by the Student Government Association Vice President of Organizational Affairs (VPOA)? On one level, yes, but Haberlin explained why, overall, this doesn’t work.“The VPOA is an elected position. They are elected by the students, and they cycle out almost every year. It isn’t a permanent position like the Fraternity and Sorority Life coordinator. There isn’t that same type of accountability. It is always changing while the social organizations have a constant dedicated person from the university whose paid purpose is to work with them.”

Another flaw with the VPOA position being the only coordinator is they are also responsible for keeping up with all the other organizations on campus. If the non-council, professional and honor organizations were held under the same umbrella, or if they had someone to act in the same capacity, it could alleviate many of the issues. There is another reason to hire a person to act in the same capacity as the FSL coordinator or bring the outside organizations under the umbrella: looking at the membership numbers of the sixteen or so social Greek lettered organizations in FSL, there are roughly 1,200 members between the three councils. The remaining Greek lettered organizations have 1,459 members combined. Some of this is overlap but not as much as you would think. It is important to note that the numbers for ten of the professional/honor organizations have not been counted as there is no official record with the school containing the numbers. The missing ten organizations have not yet responded and were not able to be factored into the professional/honor organization count. This also does not include social organizations not on councils or the new organization Pi Kappa Alpha, also known as “PIKE”, as Pi Kappa Alpha is still in their colonization process.Taking into consideration the numbers so far, we can see that there are almost 300 more members than those registered under FSL and twenty-three unaccounted-for organizations compared to the sixteen organizations that the Fraternity and Sorority Life office recognizes.

With so many skill, networking, service, and development opportunities within the Greek community, it is a shame that not only the Fraternity and Sorority Life office but also Jacksonville State University do not acknowledge these organizations along with their social council counterparts. So, again, why treat them separately? Why not represent all sides of the Greek community on this campus? While I do not personally have membership in any of the social organizations, it cannot go without saying that these groups have merits that help students just as much as the professional groups. That is why they have lasted as long as they have. However, many feel that it is time for the rest of these organizations to get the due credit that they have been missing. Most the professional and honor organizations have start dates from the same years or earlier than those of some social groups. They are nothing new and should not be held at a lower standard or recognition than they deserve.