With poor lab equipment, students question whether recent lab fee increase was best move.
ST. THOMAS – On the University of the Virgin Islands St Thomas campus, students were left puzzled by the abrupt rise in their lab fee during the fall 2013 semester.
Students were sent an email in the middle of the fall 2013 semester indicating that they must pay the difference of $100 immediately, or their accounts would be subject to a hold.
However, many students did not know why there was an increase in lab fees or whether it would be beneficial to the quality of lab experiments.
Kyree Walters, an applied mathematics major expressed that the student body should have been given knowledge of the raise in fees. He continued by saying that he has seen no change in lab experiments or a change in equipment. He also added that most lab equipment is visibly aged, and depending on the lab being performed, the equipment may take a while until being fully functional.
Another student, Dondre Diaz, said there are a few new pieces of equipment added for upper level chemistry courses. He said that the 100 level chemistry courses, have little to no equipment, or must forego that particular experiment all together.
On the first day of each lab class, students are reminded by the lab equipment manager that equipment can be very expensive.
The lab equipment manager said that one main reason for the raise in the lab fee was due to students tendencies to break glass cylinders and beakers, which can be expensive to replace.
He then added that students are also susceptible to misusing and mishandling equipment, which ultimately leads to the poor functioning of current equipment.
However, many students noted that although there are instances where equipment was up to par, but there was still a lack of equipment for each individual student.