UNC Charlotte students may be forced to pay new security fee

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Students at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte may soon have to pay a new, $30 campus security fee, if approved by the UNC Board of Governors.  The fee would be in addition to an already proposed increase to tuition and fees.

CLICK HERE for our past coverage on the tuition increase

The annual fee would be assessed to students by each UNC institution for the school year 2015 - 16 and is expected to generate approximately $5.4 million per year.

The cost is expected to generate a total of $558,888 for UNCC.

Officials said the extra fee is needed to prepare police departments to respond to extreme events, such as a campus shooting, and to respond to increasing federal and state regulations, such as requiring more detailed investigations of alleged sexual assault cases.

“The fee is mostly in response to federal regulations enacted to college campuses across the country,” said Chief Jeffrey Baker, head of the university’s police department.  “It's a variety of resources that have to be in place so that a university can progress."

The Committee on Budget and Finance outlined a rough estimate of how UNCC would allocate the revenue.  Most of the money would help fund on-campus investigators ($103,600), followed by counselors ($79,200), Title IX/Cleary ($96,000) and shared services hearing officers ($30,984).

“There is a big push on all campuses to expand and make it easier for students to be able to report sexual assaults,” said Baker. “Many times they don’t want to go to police and want to go a different route. That is where Title IX coordinators play a really important role.  When you have issues of sexual assault or sexual discrimination students can go that route.”

Baker said the university also has a Cleary Lieutenant on staff who complies the University’s annual crime report. The Cleary Act requires all colleges and universities,  participating in the Higher Education Act’s Title IV financial assistance programs to maintain and disclose selected crime statistics.

Some students Channel 9 spoke with believe the fee would be money well spent.

“I think it’s great that they’re taking the initiative to make things better before anything happens,” said Suavae McCauley, who is a junior at UNCC. “We need that added protection today.”

But, some students felt the cost should already be included with tuition and fees.

“I just feel that we're paying so much money already that should be included,” said Zachary Thomas, who is a sophomore at UNCC.

The UNC Board of Governors is expected to vote on the proposal in late February.