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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

News Briefs

Parking Still Six Bucks

The parking fee increase tentatively set for early 2005 has yet to be implemented and is on hold pending university talks with the five unions holding members on the UMass Boston campus, according to University Communications.

The increase was announced in a November 30 university-wide memo from Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Ellen O’Connor.The proposed increase would raise the fee for the fourth time in four years. According to university administration officials the fee hike aims to help to offset the annual $3 million dollar debt service accrued by the new garage. The new structure would either act as a substitute for the existing upper and lower levels, or a place to redirect traffic while the existing garage areas are repaired.

The increase will raise the daily fee from its current amount of $6 to $7. Multi-day rates and reserved parking rates will also be adjusted accordingly, and discount rates will be eliminated for those parking for more than one hour.

Faculty and union critics of the fee hike argue that it would disproportionately effect students and lower-income staff, while university administration officials maintain that pre-tax and multi-pass parking options have been instituted in order to offset the rise of the fee.

CSI Online

UMassOnline is opening its fifth year of online courses with the introduction of six new programs, according to a recent press release. These new degree and certificate programs in Forensic Criminology, Hospitality and Tourism, Domestic Violence Prevention, Casino Management, Food Service Management, and Continuing Medical Education bring the online education consortium’s course list to include 45 graduate, undergraduate, and non-credit degree and certificate programs. Introduced in 2001 by the Board of Trustees and the University President, UMassOnline was set up to serve community educational needs and increase access to a UMass education. In 2004 UMassOnline generated $15 million in revenue with its 16,000 enrollments. With the addition of the program in Continuing Medical Education UMassOnline, now represents courses based out of each UMass campus including UMass Medical School. “The six new programs, and especially the participation of UMass Medical School, are a strong addition to UMassOnline’s portfolio,” says CEO David Gray. He continues, “The extent to which we can continue to broaden access to a UMass education will be the ultimate measure of our success.”

Gora Watch: Ball State Needs New Boiler

The state budget for education is looking none too good in Indiana, home to Ball State University, where ex-chancellor Jo Ann Gora took the presidency last August.The state’s seven public universities are asking for an additional $284 million, bringing the total to $1.4 billion a year, needed for repairs and construction debt, reports the Indianapolis Star.

The Star reported that Gora “pleaded her case before lawmakers for money to replace a 63-year-old boiler and chiller plant running on borrowed time. The average life of this plant that runs the campus heating and cooling systems is 40 years, she said.””It’s not something I wish I was asking for, but it’s a top priority for us,” Gora told the Star. The boiler and chiller plant are expected to cost $48 million, reported the Muncie Star Press. The state has a budget deficit of over $600 million. The Star Press recently reported that Ball State wants $11 million for its operating budget from the state. The current operating budget stands at $240 million, “of which $132 million comes from the state’s ’04-’05 budget,” the Star Press reported.