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CCSA drafts fees letter

By Clara B. Cox

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 05 - September 21, 1995

(Editor's note: Subsequent to the meeting reported below, the facility-access fee for War Memorial Hall was rescinded for faculty and staff users. Details will be published in next week's Spectrum.)

Members of the Commission on Classified Staff Affairs (CCSA), expressing displeasure with the gym fees initiated during the summer, honed a letter the group plans to send President Paul Torgersen asking that the unpopular fees be eliminated. The group, which met on September 13, also discussed insurance for wage employees and touched on several other topics.

"Part of the fees are being assessed to pay for new facilities. Why are we having to pay a fee now to use a building that was paid for with tax dollars? Once the building is built, if they assess user fees, I have no problem with that," said CCSA Chair Wyatt Sasser. He said the university should pursue other avenues to fund construction of new facilities.

Members also complained about the way they were notified of the fees and about the lack of a payroll-deduction plan to pay the fees. "If [the gym administrators] had thought this through, had given us warning, there would be less animosity," William Dougherty said.

The governance body discussed whether their letter should refer to free use of the gym as a benefit or a privilege. "When I was recruiting for Virginia Tech, [free use of the gym] was one of the selling points. It's become an institutionalized benefit," said Spencer Foster, who attended the meeting for Ann Spencer, associate vice president for personnel and administrative services.

"A lot of employers provide this," Lenwood McCoy noted.

Others said that employees consider it a benefit, but Peggy Rasnick convinced the commission to refer to it in the letter as a privilege.

Dougherty, who drafted the letter, was directed to make modifications proposed by the commission. Sasser said he would send the revised letter by September 21 to members for their approval before forwarding it to Torgersen.

Under other agenda items, the commission discussed the lack of health insurance for wage employees. The group decided to forward to the Benefits Committee their request to make health insurance available for those wage employees willing to pay an affordable premium.

Under other business, John Ashby asked about the status of the smoking policy, and was told by Foster that it had been temporarily set aside because of more pressing matters from Richmond.

"The commission is concerned about the smoking issue and would like to see something done in a timely matter," Sasser noted.

Tony Sutphin reported to the group that the university's EO/AA committee is drafting a letter that the university supports affirmative action. Sutphin represents the commission on the committee.

The commission will meet again on October 11, when Minnis Ridenour, executive vice president, will address the group.