Tuition money may fund Greek village

Mai Hoang

While four-fifths of Western students don’t wear letters and will never live in the proposed Greek village, everyone who pays university bills may end up banking the proposed project.

Under one option currently being discussed, money from tuition and fees would be used to purchase and develop land for the Greek village.

And for some, the plan is simply unsatisfactory. “I don’t think the average student at Western should have to pay for the more affluent student to have better housing,” said John Bradley, president of the Student Government Association.

The city of Bowling Green has agreed to pay up to $2 million in bonds for development and acquisition fees, which has to be repaid.

Gene Tice, vice president for Student Affairs and campus services, said they are still determining how much the property will cost.

They expect to form a plan to pay for costs this fall.

There are a number of possibilities for funding, including having the university provide money from the general budget or reserves, Tice said. The Greek organizations taking residence in the village may also end up covering the costs.

Bradley said all students may end up indirectly paying for the Greek village because tuition and fees are one source of revenue for the university budget.

It’s something he’s concerned about.

Bradley said he thinks building a Greek village is a good idea. But the student body, which is 82 percent non-Greek, should not have to pay the costs.

President Gary Ransdell said no student fees will be created for the Greek village.

Some Greek houses are in poor condition, he said. The village could help that problem.

“We’re simply not going to allow students to live in unsafe conditions,” Ransdell said. “We just put $40 million for 30 percent of our students. Now it’s their turn.”

Bradley said organizations who will live in the village should pay for those costs through their own funds or with the support of their national headquarters or alumni.

“It’s my impression, by being in a Greek organization at one time, that people in Greek letter organizations do not need financial help,” he said.

Charley Pride, director of student activities, said Greek organizations will be fund raising, but it will go toward building the houses.

Those houses could cost at least $500,000.

“If the land costs are exorbitant, they would be less likely do something like that,” Pride said. “What would make it more attractive if they were offered land at a low cost.”

Tice said all students will ultimately benefit. Greeks who will live in the village may open up more space for students to live on-campus.

“We’re trying to upgrade all (housing) and provide safe affordable housing for everybody,” Tice said. “It’s part of that bigger picture.”

Pride said the university could redevelop old fraternity and sorority houses adjacent to campus for things such as parking.

“There’s a lot of opportunities that could come out of this for all students,” he said.

Bradley said he has voiced his concern to Tice and others in the administration, but wants students to be able to express their opinion either way.

They will have an opportunity to do so during the SGA meeting at 5 p.m. in Downing University Center room 305, Bradley said.

“Dr. Tice, the Regents and the administrative council knows how I feel,” he said. “It’s about what the students think.”

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]