By Rob South
Students in the Art department were shocked Monday to discover they would have to pay a $17 fee for each studio locker they wish to use this year. Previously, students simply placed their own lock on any locker they needed to use.
"We should have been informed ahead of time," said Art Students’ League Co-president Jenelle Schneider. "It was shocking to see for a lot of people."
Art Department Head Gerald Hushlak had several reasons for the change; one was the cost of maintenance.
"A lot of lockers needed fixing," said Hushlak. "We are a very poor faculty and a very poor department."
The department did not have the infrastructure to administer a phone registration system themselves, so they partnered with the Students’ Union. The revenues of the $17 fee are split between Arts and the SU.
"What has been agreed is they get 75 per cent of all the proceeds and we get 25 per cent to cover our costs," said SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Matt Lauzon. "We are not in it for money."
According to Lauzon, the money the SU receives will cover the cost of the staff time for registration, student assistance and cleanout.
"Down the line there will be some funding for visiting speakers," said Hushlak about the Art Department’s share of the funds from the lockers. "Our visiting speakers budget was cut this year."
Schneider is pleased the money will go to visiting speakers who students can see, but is concerned about whether current students will benefit from the speakers. The money for visiting speakers will not come any time soon as the department will need three to four years of locker revenues to recover the initial cost of purchasing locks.
Hushlak believes the new locker system will ensure every student has a fair chance to get a locker and will be safer because of the high-quality locks purchased.
"I think they get better benefit for [the new system]," said Hushlak.
Still many students in the department are upset at the fee as they consider the lockers an academic necessity due to the nature of their work. Often students need more than one locker.
"I can’t keep photography supplies with sculpting materials, they just don’t mix," said Schneider. "In sculpting classes you can’t carry your 40-pound sculpture back and forth."