By Craig Chamberlain Student leaders from the Urbana-Champaign campus brought a priority list of concerns to the UI Board of Trustees at its meeting April 8 in Urbana. Many of those concerns got little public support from trustees, however, who focused instead on student apathy about student government, questioned the need for certain programs, and asked how such programs could be paid for. Among the students' priorities: better communication among students, trustees and administrators, especially on tuition and fee increases; affordability; improved recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students; increased funding for existing cultural centers; establishment of an Asian American cultural center; campus safety; more parking and improved bus service; extended hours in facilities supported by student fees; and affordable child care. Julia C. Huff, the student trustee from Urbana, said the priorities were a direct result of two town-hall meetings she held in late January to ask for student input. The list was presented to trustees both as a document and through brief presentations by more than a half-dozen students, several of whom have been members of the Student Government Association or the Urbana-Champaign Senate. Their presentations represented "a pretty accurate account of what's happening on campus today," Huff said. They are "not just problems to complain about, but critical concerns that students have," she said. Board President Kenneth R. Boyle, D-Springfield, noted, however, that participation in student elections was very low and asked whether the student government was representative of the student body. Susan Gravenhorst, R-Lake Forest, questioned whether there was a clear understanding of the identity and purpose of a cultural center - whether its purpose was to educate the campus about other cultures or to provide a "haven" for students of one particular group. If it is the latter, she said, "I think then that we're missing the point of our public university and the broadening aspect of the education young people are receiving here." For Trustee Thomas R. Lamont, D-Springfield, the issue was money. "The university is consistently deemed a 'best buy' by major publications who've studied us across the country, and yet we hear repeatedly the concerns of our cost," he said. "We can't be a best buy, and we can't have increased costs, but yet we have to have increased services and opportunities. It doesn't work that way; it costs money to provide those kind of things. We have to find that delicate balance on both sides of the equation, and it is tough." Chancellor Michael Aiken said he hoped that the presentation would lead to a "greater dialogue" about some of the issues. He also talked about money: "It's very important to recognize that over the last four to five years, this university has really suffered enormous erosion in its economic circumstances," he said. The Urbana campus has more than 150 fewer faculty members from seven years ago, he noted, and some of the students' concerns are "a function of that loss," he said. With relatively little discussion and only one regular member voting against, the trustees approved an increase in room and board and fees at both campuses for the 1994-95 academic year. The housing increases range from 2 to 5 percent - depending on location, number of roommates and how many meals are included. As a result, the typical student in university housing on the Urbana campus - an undergraduate in a double room who takes 14 meals a week - will pay 5 percent more, or about $4,200 for the academic year. The typical student in a double room on the Chicago campus will pay 2 percent more for room and board, or about $5,000. Student fees were increased by 1.2 percent, or $4, at Urbana and by 2.5 percent, or $10, at Chicago. Fees, which support a variety of facilities and services, will be $348 per semester at Urbana, plus $126 for commercial health insurance. Fees at the Chicago campus will be $412 per semester, plus $145 for health insurance through the campus HMO. Tuition increases averaging 5.5 percent were approved by the trustees last September. Those increases, added in with the increases for housing and fees, mean the average student at Urbana faces a 5.88 percent increase in costs next year. The average student at Chicago will be paying 4.38 percent more. The increase for lower-division students will be higher since their tuition will rise by about 11 percent - part of a two-year plan to close the tuition gap between lower- and upper-division students. Trustees had little to say about the increases, and Ada N. Lopez, D-Chicago, was the only regular member voting against them. Both student trustees - Patrick C. Riley, from Chicago, and Huff - raised a few questions about the increases and voted against them. Their votes are advisory. Craig S. Bazzani, UI vice president for business and finance, said that the housing increases were necessary to cover inflation and to pay for wage increases for housing employees. UI President Stanley O. Ikenberry noted, as he has in previous meetings, that the university's intention is to maintain regular, moderate and predictable increases in tuition and fees in order to avoid dramatic jumps every few years. Also approved - and with the same trustees voting against - was a proposal to increase tuition for MBA programs on both campuses by $1,500 next year. This increase will be on top of the general tuition increase approved in September and will raise MBA tuition at Urbana from $4,126 this year to $5,800 next year. On the Chicago campus, the tuition will be $5,690. The increase in tuition is part of a restructuring of the MBA program on both campuses, which was explained to trustees in a presentation at the January meeting. The new funds will be used to restructure and upgrade the curriculum, add new courses and support new student assistance programs designed to attract a more diverse student body. Under the plan, additional increases in tuition are likely in each of the next two years. In other business, the trustees: * Approved the elimination of the bachelor of social work degree program on the Urbana campus. The proposal came from the School of Social Work faculty and was approved by the Urbana-Champaign Senate. Elimination of the degree program will have little impact upon access to undergraduate social work education in Illinois since the Urbana program is one of the smallest in the state, with only 51 students currently enrolled. * Approved a revision in the policy and rules manual for UI civil service employees that expands the use of sick leave. The new wording, consistent with a change in the university's General Rules that was approved by the trustees last November, expands the use of sick leave to include the care of a parent or member of the household. It also states that sick leave may be used following the birth or adoption of a child. * Heard a presentation on a plan to purchase a 10-year supply of natural gas from a single supplier, with the benefit to be savings of an estimated $7.3 million on university energy costs over that period. * Approved transfer of the Urbana campus department of atmospheric sciences from the Graduate College to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.