Want to know how your student life fee is spent? Columbia College Dean James Valentini thinks you should be able to.
Valentini told Spectator in an interview that he thinks central administrators should release a dollar-by-dollar breakdown of how the University spends every undergraduate’s annual student life fee, which this year was $1,396.
“My view is we should release the breakdown,” Valentini said. “I believe I understand the arguments for and against it. My own opinion is we should just release it and answer questions, if anyone has questions about where the money’s going.”
Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger told Spectator in a recent interview that his office and the provost’s office—where the size and breakdown of the fee are determined—would not release the numbers. He did, though, list the offices that student life fees helped fund last year: Student Affairs, Student Activities, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education, the Center for Career Education, and Columbia University Information Technology.
Shollenberger said that administrators don’t release a breakdown of how Columbia spends the fees because they don’t “want to get into the debate of students saying, ‘Out of my $1,396, I don’t want X amount going to athletics because I don’t go to any of the games or work out at the gym.’”
“We view it as an option that’s available to everyone regardless of whether or not they choose to take advantage of it,” Shollenberger said.
Valentini, though, has a different view of the matter.
“I really don’t see a value in keeping it secret,” Valentini said. “I think it’s more damage done by people not knowing, and then being suspicious.”
Provost John Coatsworth could not be reached for comment.