The Student Government Association (SGA) tabled a resolution to increase the Student Activity Fee (SAF) at its April 2 meeting after heated debate.
Student Finance Board (SFB) executive director Leonardo Acevedo presented the reasons behind the increase and an outline of where the money would be spent.
Currently, every student pays $71.50 each semester for a total of $143 a year toward SAF. This amount has increased about $7-$10 every year for the past three years except for this year, when it did not increase at all. According to the new plan as outlined by Acevedo, SAF would increase about $60 for the following school year.
“This fee is controlled by the student and will go back to the student,” Acevedo said.
With the increase in SAF, next year’s major events would include two large concerts, four comedy shows, weekly bus trips, adding a Saturday “loop,” movie nights and carnivals.
Due to inflation, Acevedo said it would be impossible to maintain these events with the funding currently in place. SFB would have to change food policies at events, limit funding to sports and eliminate conferences.
The plan to increase SAF met with a divided response. Many SGA members wanted to know how SFB could ensure the money would actually go to these events. Jenna Klubnick, student trustee, had questions about where the funds that were generated by the last increase in SAF were used.
“At the end of last year, the SAF went up $10 in order to fund the UV Latenighters in TW. But come this year, we never saw them,” she said.
However, Matthew Daley, freshman class vice president, said this increase in the fee affects his class the most because the freshman class will have to pay it for the next three years.
“I would be willing to face a $60 increase if it means getting so much more done and better events,” he said.
At one point during the discussion, Michael Peters, senator of Culture and Society, made a motion to have a closed debate. This motion would have forced all non-SGA members to leave the room, including the SFB members who were sitting in the audience.
There were not enough votes for the motion to pass but SFB members still walked out of the room in spite of executive president Christine Cullen’s emphasis on the debate not being a personal issue.
After Acevedo reentered the room, the resolution on increasing SAF was tabled until today so that further debate and a more specific list on the allocation of SAF funds could be presented.
SGA also passed a bill to amend the election bylaws for a student wishing to run for an SGA position.
According to the new procedure, if a potential candidate was previously convicted and impeached, the candidate must appeal to the elections committee before becoming a candidate again.
Adding this extra step to the election process initially caused some division among SGA members.
Jasen Sood, senator at-Large, said the decision to elect student leaders was up to the student body.
“Regardless of what they’ve done in the past, we need to let voters decide,” he said.
Both Trish Krug, senator at-Large, and Sami Carrick, senator of education, said it was important for SGA to stand by decisions it had made. Since the public was not as informed and did not know all of the facts on why a former member was impeached, SGA needed to place a safeguard in order to protect the student body, they said.
Most SGA members agreed with Krug and Carrick and the bill passed with a majority of votes.