On-campus student rent to increase for '96-97

By Charles Ratliff
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 16, 1996

Students wishing to live on the UA campus next year will pay an extra 6.1 percent in rent.

The Arizona Board of Regents, meeting at ASU West, approved the University of Arizona's request to increase students' rent to cover the expenses of housing campus residents.

Part of the increase, 3.2 percent, will cover operational expenses affected by inflation. An additional 0.4 percent was requested to fund renovations during the course of the year.

Another 2.5 percent would be applied to a "sinking fund," which would be put to use building new residence halls or relocating Christopher City.

Regent Judy Gignac said her concern with the proposed increase was whether students were made aware of the increase and whether they had a chance to give their input.

Residence Hall Association President Steve Parker said the process of coming up with the increase involved students serving on a committee, sitting down with Residence Life Director Jim Van Arsdel and hashing out the numbers.

Gignac said she understood there would be representation, but that she wanted to be sure word got to all of the student residents about the increase.

Student Regent Mark Davis said he objected to putting the cost of funding new construction on the shoulders of students.

"I have a hard time approving an increase for the purpose of building new residence halls we haven't given the authority to build," Davis said.

Specifically, Davis said he objected to an increase of $469 for residents of Manzanita-Mohave Residence Hall.

Parker said the increase would pay for renovations conducted two years ago. He said students living in "Manzi-Mo" voted to put off an increase for one year in order to enjoy the benefits of the renovations while understanding that the next increase would be placed on the shoulders of following residents.

Vice President of Student Affairs Saundra Taylor said most students do not object to increases when they understand that what they are paying for they will also be able to enjoy.

Board President Eddie Basha said he believed the percentages were too high and requested a lower percentage that would be the same for all three universities.

"I think they all impact our students," Basha said. "It restricts access to residence halls and impact the students' affordability."

New regent Donald Urlich said it would be easy to say the universities need the money. But, as to the 2.5 percent sinking fund money, he said, "I would like to know where the money would go."

UA President Manuel Pacheco said the 3.6 percent is applied to the actual fund of keeping the enterprise running. The 2.5 percent, he said, will go to constructing new residence halls.

"We need some additional housing, there's no doubt about that," Pacheco said. "We're caught in a real dilemma."

Pacheco cited the fire at Christopher City last year as reason enough for the renovations, at least, he said, with family housing.

Taylor said funds collected through the increase would be used as soon as two years from now to construct the proposed residence hall.

Christopher City, on the other hand, would be evaluated sooner, she said. The university has come to an agreement with the Rincon Heights Neighborhood Association to build a new Christopher City south of Sixth Street.

Taylor said the neighborhood was receptive to the new family housing unit. She said, however, the land set aside might not be enough to accommodate the whole unit and might be separated into two parts, but would be built near one another.

Gignac motioned to vote on the proposed increase without the 2.5 percent sinking fund. The motion was defeated. A new vote including the fund passed on a vote of 4-2.

Because of his involvement with the real estate market, Regent Hank Amos abstained from the vote.