USU student starts petition for student fee refund

LOGAN — A Utah State University student has created a petition for fellow students and community members with connections to USU to sign pushing for a partial refund of student fees.

Travis Forsyth, the USU junior studying communication studies who created the petition, is asking for a 42% refund from USU for services students are no longer able to use due to the COVID-19-mandated transition from in-person classes and events to remote.

I feel like this is fair and I feel like to some degree it would stealing if they made us pay for fees and kept those fees for things that they were unable to provide,” Forsyth said in an interview.

USU students taking 12 to 18 credits pay about $523 in student fees divided into several categories: activities, buildings, Aggie Shuttle, health services, counseling and psychological, technology, campus recreation, library, music and theater, Aggie Blue Bike and Blue Goes Green.

In an effort to adapt to quarantine and social distancing guidelines, USU has moved events online and Counseling and Psychological Services has transitioned counseling sessions online, among other measures to ensure students are still able to reap the benefits of the money they pay in student fees.

However, not all services can transition online or still be in use during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the Aggie Shuttle and many campus buildings. The Aggie Shuttle now only runs two buses and most campus buildings are no longer in use.

James Morales, USU vice president for student affairs, said while USU students cannot access these services for the time being, USU cannot refund student fees paid for their purpose because the university has to pay for them regardless of whether students are using them or not.

“These are what we refer to as fixed costs, payments have to be made to pay for those buses, to pay for those buildings, regardless of whether students are using those services,” Morales said in a video-recorded town hall earlier this month. “The student fees are in place to meet those needs during the COVID-19 emergency period and in order to maintain those resources for when students do come back in an on campus face-to-face setting.”

Forsyth disagrees with Morales’ reasoning and believes the services USU is providing are not sufficient for what students have paid.

“This truly is not a good return on our investment. It’s a loss,” Forsyth said. “Students can find workouts online from other sources without spending money, but they can’t access the equipment and environment they are paying for at the (Aggie Recreation Center) without being at the ARC, (like) basketball, free weights, volleyball, pickleball, track, indoor rock climbing, etc.”

Additionally, Forsyth feels it is unfair for students to pay for services — such as buildings and the Aggie Shuttle — that they can’t use.

“In response to (Morales’) words about the upkeep of Aggie shuttles, is it the student’s responsibility to pay for the upkeep of buses they are not able to use,” he asked. “At the very minimum should they not get money back for the gas that is no longer being used?”

In the town hall, Morales said he recognizes many students are facing additional economic hardship right now and student fees are being redirected to help pay for additional costs that may be required for online events — such as software and staff labor.

These kinds of things don’t happen magically, they require an investment of resources,” he said.

Forsyth takes a lot of pride in attending USU and appreciates it, but believes the petition is a way to keep the university accountable.

All of us love Utah State and we think it’s a great institution, this is just to help keep us accountable and be the honorable school that we think they already are,” he said. “Part of it is because I do hold USU to such high regard, I’ve been really impressed with this school and I love everything about it.”

Forsyth is only asking the university to refund 42% of fees because students were able to complete 58% of the semester in-person before COVID-19 hit.

As of Friday afternoon, the petition stands at 345 signatures, surpassing Forsyth’s original goal of 200. Forsyth plans to give the petition a few more days and hopefully reach 500 signatures before he approaches USU administration with it.

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  • Sam Peery April 26, 2020 at 10:55 am Reply

    The word is “stealing”. A”still” is the Apparatus behind the chemistry building which produces ROH to cope with student civil unrest!

  • Jordan April 26, 2020 at 2:41 pm Reply

    No link to the petition?

  • Angela April 26, 2020 at 7:11 pm Reply

    I think this is silly. You’re fighting over pennies. It’s a fee that we’ve already paid and whether or not you use the gym or what have you, they are still having to maintain it or keep it managed while students are away. The school has already lost a lot of money because of COVID-19 and this would put them at a greater loss, meaning it would probably come back out of our pockets again later.

    There are about 28,000-30,000 students at USU. Times the 42% are petitioning to get back. That is over half a million dollars, dude. $615,048. There is NO way they are doing to give that much money back, especially right now, and especially after having already refunded everyone four housing and lost so much money that way, and not replenishing that with services being used on campus or anything. let the money stay there now so it doesn’t potentially make our bill even higher than it already will be next semester.

    It’s cute that you want to try to save the world or get a couple extra bucks, granted, $219 is a lot for a college student,but I doubt it will do anything. Sign up for DoorDash and make that money in 2-4 nights. That’s a lot more money and a lot faster than it will take USU to get this petition, read it, maybe magically decided yes on it (which they probably won’t) then try to get you the money back. It’ll be forever before that happens. ?

    • Shane May 1, 2020 at 1:44 pm Reply

      I am sorry you disagree but you could have been much kinder in how you said things. You are making many assumptions about who he is when you most likely haven’t met him. There a lot of people who believe that we should all be more kind to one another but rarely do we take a look inside to think how I can be kinder. Please feel free to voice your opinion but do remember that kindness matters and that there are ways to disagree politely.
      Thank you!

  • Angela April 26, 2020 at 7:38 pm Reply

    …this is a joke, right?? ???I hope people read this and realize how entitled and selfish this is. ? There are more than 28,000 students at USU. Times that by the 42% you are petitioning to get back, that is 6. MILLION. DOLLARS. There is NO way in heck USU will refund that money. A loss on YOUR investment, Travis? It’s not just you that exists. What about theirs? That is a HUGE lost of investment on THEIR part. Especially since they already refunded housing, have to still pay the professors, still keep the promotions and raises they promised, pay facility and staff, all while having basically zero replenished income from the services on campus or anything.

    You’re fighting over pennies. It’s a fee that we’ve already paid and whether or not you use the gym or what have you, they are still having to maintain the campus and keep it managed while most students are away. (some are still there, btw). $219 is a lot in the eyes of one college student, I get it. But think outside of yourself and times that by 28,000 people. You’re asking the school to give out a heck of a lot. Our school. Sign up for DoorDash and make up that 200 bucks in 2-4 nights working only 2-3 hours at a time. You’ll get it so much faster than USU’s turn around time anyway. USU has already lost a lot of money because of COVID-19 and this would put them at a greater loss, meaning it would probably make it WORSE and come back out of our pockets AGAIN later.

    • Prince Albert April 27, 2020 at 12:22 pm Reply

      I guess the university needs that $219 a lot more then each student needs it. Moron.

    • Mason April 28, 2020 at 12:03 pm Reply

      You mean it shows how entitled USU is. The student fees are there because we pay so we can use all of those resources. Student fees are theft to anyone who doesn’t use them anyway and now much of them aren’t being used. Students are consumers to the campus we pay for education and these resources. We don’t pay for the upkeep. Look at any local gym for example if I’m paying to go there im paying to use they’re equipment if I can’t use it I don’t pay and damn well get my money back for the shut down of the gym or at minimum get a discount/free service later.

      Also where did you learn math? USU has 28118 students but let’s be safe and say 29000. The student fees were asking back is $218 but again just to be safe let’s say $300. When you multiple $300×29000 that’s $870,000 not even close to 6 million.

      I understand they have stuff to pay but so do we but we’re paying for then to provide a service and were not getting that service so the right thing to do is send that money back.

      • carl April 29, 2020 at 11:34 pm Reply

        Mason my dude, not that I dont agree with you on all those points…. but you need to add another 0 to your answer… 8,700,000 granted, that is rounding up stuff but still, she was right with her estimate of 6 million.

      • Anonymous April 30, 2020 at 12:21 pm Reply

        Your math is a little off. You’re missing a zero. 300 x 29,000 = 8,700,000 or 8.7 million. I made the same mistake in my head too. I had to double check with a calculator. And they should be able to refund some. How much upkeep can there be when no one is using the facility?

  • Jill April 27, 2020 at 7:37 am Reply

    My concern here is that a college JUNIOR doesn’t know how to spell ‘stealing’. I’m truly at a loss over this…


    • Prince Albert April 27, 2020 at 12:26 pm Reply

      The college student didn’t write the story, the moron working for CVD did. I’m truly at a loss for you not understanding this.


    • Travis April 27, 2020 at 1:18 pm Reply

      Here is the petition.

    • Hmm April 27, 2020 at 2:54 pm Reply

      It says in the article it’s what he said in an interview meaning he spoke it so apparently he said it wrong?

  • Kate April 27, 2020 at 10:19 am Reply

    Angela, you missed a decimal, there.

    This is childish entitlement. So, we missed out on 42% of the semester, and you want 42% of student fees? Except that you can still use a lot of those services in an alternate form, so you have no place asking for 100% of that portion.

    Here’s a fun fact for ya: There are students that attend USU online even without Covid-19 ruining everyone’s fun. Do you think they don’t pay student fees? Maybe they pay a lesser amount because they “can’t use all of the services”? Nope. They pay 100% what you do. Stop whining. Suck it up, buttercup.

  • Justin cline April 27, 2020 at 8:58 pm Reply

    What about students in the CTE programs? 50% of our learning is done “hands on” and is a major part of the required learning in some programs. I dont know how other programs handled it, but my program flat out ended when they kicked us out of school.
    No online course, no in person course, just a statement that work we havent yet been assigned wont be held against us and a goodbye…
    We have been cheated out of massive amounts of education that we will need when we enter the workforce. What are we supposed to tell our employees when we aren’t able to do a job that litterally everyone else knows how to do?
    “Sorry, covid19 strikes again. Haha.”
    I’m sure that’s going to go over really well…

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