Student Voices Don’t Matter

Written by Keegan Sanchez ASEOU President

Dear EOU Community,


We, the members of the 2020-2021 ASEOU Executive Board and Senate, are disappointed and have a
growing lack of trust toward the decision makers at Eastern Oregon University. We are told our voices
matter but are consistently ignored on decisions that directly affect the student body. Oftentimes, when an
issue is raised by the students, we are listened to, but our recommendations are rarely considered. As
students’ representatives, our hard work and dedication to voice the student body’s opinions and
necessities are lost when our voices do not have a noticeable impact on the decisions of the EOU
administration.
This disparity of interest has come to glaring fruition based on decisions made in relation to the tuition
and fee rates for the 2021-2022 academic year. Despite opposition from all student representatives who sit
on the Budget & Planning Tuition Advisory Committee (B&PTAC), in regard to graduate tuition, room
and board rates, and the business differential, all of these rates were increased anyway. The committee,
the university president, and the board of trustees did not make any adjustments based on the student
perspective. This year, and in previous years, students have voted against high increases to tuition and
other fees that don’t affect the quality of their education. Eastern Oregon University has continued to raise
costs despite the concerns of students. This disregard toward student concerns has led to negative impacts
on the student body such as a decrease in student retention and recruitment.
12

To be clear, we support President Insko’s decision to “freeze” undergraduate tuition rates. However, we
think it is misleading to the student body. Graduate tuition is still increasing and so is nearly every other
fee that students are charged. We understand that the decisions surrounding undergraduate and graduate
tuition rates and fees for the upcoming academic year have been finalized. Further, we understand that
fees have to rise to keep up with inflation, and difficult decisions must be made when planning a budget,
but student voices must be taken into consideration throughout the entire process. For example, during
B&PTAC meetings, the student representatives were made aware of the need to increase student fees, but
they were not comfortable with the percentage increases of each fee. The B&PTAC meetings are not
currently a place where ideas can lead to change. That does not have to be the case, it can be an area
where the university constituents can negotiate the percentage of the raises. In situations where student
recommendations can not be implemented, we urge the university to communicate with us about the
rationale behind their decision.
As student leaders we feel heard and generally supported by faculty and administration. However, beyond
being heard, our stances often have very little impact on the decisions that directly impact the student
body. We have already voiced our opinion multiple times about the fee recommendations and are still
ignored. We hope to see this pattern change as time goes on. Our voices need to be recognized and taken
into serious consideration. There needs to be a clear line of communication when our dissent is ignored
and there needs to be a place to negotiate. If this is not possible then we urge you consider what the true
purpose of student representation really is.
With Respect,
The 2021-2022 ASEOU Executive Board & Senate

2 CMI Navigators scholarship statement. See Appendix 1.
1 White paper on Oregon State University misplaced priorities https://seiu503.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/HigherEdWhitePaper_20190829_r2-1.pdf

Context

This is the context for the letter that Kegan wanted everyone to be aware of. 

“This letter sparked after receiving the statement from president Insco to the budget and planning tuition advisory committee around his recommended approval of the budget to the board of trustees. There were a number of issues that the students raised, as well as some of the other committee members, over the raises in prices, especially around the rising graduate tuition after the institution chose to freeze undergraduate tuition. Within the instances of the graduate tuition raise, the room and board raises, and the business differential raises, every student voted no. And on the 40 increase to the building fee, every student but one voted no. And so this letter really came from a frustration, because president Insco said he heard what we said, but didn’t follow it, didn’t provide his rationale behind his decision and that there’s no real space for us to negotiate or have these conversations about prices we would find acceptable as students. And so it’s really a feeling of being ignored by the institution when we raise our voice on issues when it feels like our voice doesn’t matter at all because whatever we say doesn’t have an impact.  

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