Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Up, up, and away — another summer, another rise in tuition

It’s simply in bad taste for someone whose salary tops the $350,000 mark (after benefits) to repeatedly say, “We have to tighten our belts.” Certainly, FAU president Frank Brogan is known for repeating himself, but when he has the nerve to tell the students, staff, and faculty at FAU to “tighten our belts”-because of budget problems and another rough year forcing tuition increases of 8.5 for in-state students and a whopping 15 percent for out-of-state and graduate students — it just sickens me.

No, this isn’t quite like Marie-Antoinette saying of the hungry in France, “Let them eat cake,” but it does have its own sense of insincerity.

Brogan began the Board of Trustees meeting on June 25, with a discussion on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision concerning Affirmative Action. He then pointed out FAU’s own admissions policy and called it “affirmative- and action-oriented,” neglecting, of course, to explain how it is “affirmative- and action-oriented.” After reiterating this phrase a few times, mixing in an emphasis of how important diversity is to FAU, the surprisingly short meeting was underway.

Interestingly enough, it was the major decision at the end to increase tuition, which could harm the diversity that Brogan proclaims to covet so dearly.

Thirty percent of FAU students will see a 15 percent tuition increase. A good number of the students who have to pay out-of-state tuition weren’t born in the U.S., and they tend to contribute to the FAU’s diverse student body. Also, many international students are prohibited from working, so one can imagine the hardship this tuition hike is for them. It doesn’t really matter how the admissions program runs if people can’t afford the ever-rising cost of attending FAU.

But Brogan wasn’t the only person who thought FAU needed to increase tuition; the BOT voted nearly unanimously for a tuition increase. The only objection: Student Body President Ancel Pratt III whose vote said “no-no” but whose statement before voting said “yes-yes.”

Before the vote, Pratt made a statement that, to my chagrin, seemed to be in favor of a tuition increase. He talked about how other universities in Florida had planned to raise tuition to as high as 20 percent, and some universities across the country up to 40 percent.

Rather than trying to make a compromise on tuition hikes like his predecessor Pablo Paez, he just accepted the full brunt of the increase, and with a forced smile, raised his hand to vote against it. I guess at least this way, when people ask, he can say that he voted in favor of the students despite the fact that he tarnished it beforehand with an “it could be worse” attitude.

As for last year, Paez tried to convince the board that the increase should be about half of what was proposed. He was unsuccessful, but he still put forth an effort to minimize the damage. To his credit, Pratt did request that the scholarship funds be increased to help students financially.

At the close of the meeting, Brogan emphasized that the state budget for higher education is still working off a two-university system and doesn’t account for the crop of commuter schools that make up the new wave of the 21st century. In true Broganesque fashion, I’ll repeat that his closing statements on the need for budgetary increases in the state of Florida are in bad taste, coming from a man whose salary is partly paid for by private funds intended to help the university and who lives in a two-million-dollar monstrosity that haunts 20th Street on the outskirts of FAU’s Boca Campus.

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