Printing a 20-page paper by mistake: $2. Debunking a bed to avoid an uncomfortable roommate situation: $30. Replacing a townhouse couch which sounds like a diaper when you sit on it: $1000. Wondering about these university fines, and where your money goes: useless. Or is it?

“Sometimes I think it’s crazy how much the university tries to tack on extra charges. I already pay so much to go here,” said Chris Martin ’07. “A lot of them don’t make sense.”

While some fees are easily explainable, like charging students to print (to encourage conservation of paper and toner) or fees for judicial violations or even parking tickets (to maintain a sense of order on campus), others leave students dumbfounded.

“Asking for $30 to debunk a bed isn’t fair,” said Taylor Gilhuly ’06. “I find it hard to believe that it costs Fairfield $30 to take apart a few beams of wood.”

“The charge [of debunking a bed] is to cover the costs associated with the labor,” said Gary Stephenson, director of housing operations. “We, residence life, receive a bill for the labor from campus operations.”

However, residence life does not charge students to debunk their beds during the first three weeks of the semester. Campus operations’ workers’ duties are rescheduled during this time.

Angry about the cost of replacing a university couch at the townhouses?

“I’m not really sure that it’s fair because it seems to me that those couches are very old and have been used many years in a row,” said Erin Teeling ’05. “Are those couches really worth $1000 in the first place?”

According to Stephenson, the university isn’t trying to cheat you out of money; the couches are durable, heavy, expensive couches, built to last a long time.

“The cost to replace a damaged couch is the cost it is to replace a couch. There is no fine,” said Stephenson.

Think the $250 fine of an unlocked window in the apartments is outrageous?

“I’m upset about the fine. I think it’s way too much,” said apartment resident Andrea McCarthy ’06.

But this heavy fine ensures the university that students will not open their windows, which would create a larger, more expensive problem of controlling mold growth.

It saves the university time and material, according to Stephenson.

“My understanding is that there is a real worry that when a student breaks or removes the lock we have defeated or compromised the HVAC system that is in place,” said Stephenson. “Those systems have to be checked as well.”

McCarthy agreed if the only way to get students to stop unlocking their windows is by fining them, it might be worth it.

“The mold in here does get ridiculous. Bread goes bad in two days if you leave it on the counter,” said McCarthy.

The actual charge to repair, relock and close an apartment window comes from the campus operations department, not residence life.

According to Laura Cantrell, associate director of residence life, the department does not fine students directly for the operations. Campus operations sends residence life a bill, and residence life uses such revenue to pay that bill.

“Since the money collected goes to cover what we are charged, it goes back to campus operations for time and material or whatever they have billed out, or to purchasing to cover the replacement cost or directly to the vender,” said Stephenson. “We do not have a damage revenue budget.”

“The amount charged is the actual amount to replace or to cover the costs billed to our department,” said Cantrell.

Although to some students these fines for service seem overpriced, they are costs that are not always included in the bill sent home to parents.

“The money generated from these direct services whose costs associated are small go into ‘miscellaneous income’ in the budget,” said Bursar Ray Bourdeau.

According to Bourdeau, “miscellaneous income” contributes to balancing the budget.

“In essence, it goes towards running the operations of the university,” he said.

Bourdeau said the revenue from tuition, room and board, and general fees does not cover the general operation of university, labor, materials and maintenance of the campus and buildings. However, “miscellaneous income” covers some of these costs.

“It’s a small factor, but it is a factor to contributing to the overall budget,” said Bourdeau.

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