By: Suzell Wray
Kingston, Jamaica- President of the United Student Movement (USM) Kavion Allen says his regime will be challenging the Northern Caribbean University’s (NCU) decision to only provide students with a 1% reduction in general fees for the 2020/2021 academic year.
He made the announcement during a virtual meeting with students from the university’s Eastern Regional Campus (EJRC) on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
According to Allen, the reduction is simply not enough, noting that the university had initially intended to merge both tuition and general fees, which prompted his office to release a statement to the administration requesting a meeting.
A meeting that was not convened until after the fact.
“On Friday I invited the Vice-President of Student Services, Dr. Cleghorne, and also personnel from the office of finance to a meeting and we began the first phase of discussions to see if the university can do a little bit better than just a 1% reduction of the general fees.”
He added that during the meeting on Friday, July 24, 2020, he was informed by the university that it will cost them more to operate online as opposed to a physical learning environment. Allen, however, said he disagrees with this notion.
“I think the aeorion system that we have is very versatile and it’s a licensed platform and it’s not being paid for because it is a property of the university.”
He also shared that the administration revealed that from general fees, the university’s workers are also paid, noting that the institution was forced to absorb that cost when students were refunded the fee during the summer session period. However, Allen reiterated that further reductions can still be facilitated.
“I am no expert, but with my armchair analysis, I believe that if the university makes a further reduction in general fees it will actually offset some of the harshness all of us are experiencing. When the students see the efforts being made by the university it will ramp up our enrollment numbers.”
Allen, who is a final year student at NCU’s School of Religion and Theology, said himself, and a few members from his regime have written to the University’s administration seeking a more feasible reduction that will benefit students.
The virtual meeting was called by USM’s Executive Vice-President at the EJRC, Shanese Austin to address questions and concerns from students enrolled on the university’s Kingston-based campus. Also present at the meeting was Acting Assistant Director, Tanya Cousins.