January 25, 1999

SGA passes new student fee cap

Resolution limits increases on student service, activity fees

by Josh Renaud
staff assistant

Comptroller Benjamin Ash takes questions during last Thursday's SGA meeting.
photo by Stephanie Platt

The Student Government Association took a step toward "fiscal responsibility," said Benjamin Ash, comptroller for SGA, after the assembly passed his resolution Thursday.

The resolution was written in response to the debate over fee increases at the Dec. 3 SGA meeting. Jim Avery, SGA president, and Michael Rankins, SGA vice-president, supported keeping the student activities and student services fees the same this year because there had been a $6.05 overall increase in student fees last year. Ash had argued in favor of a slight increase so that a larger increase wouldn't be necessary in future years.

As a result of the passed resolution, the SGA president may not recommend fee increases lower than the rate of inflation. The president is also restricted from recommending a student activities fee increase that is over five cents or a student services fee increase that is more than three cents. The SGA assembly may override this with a two-thirds majority vote.

"What this is basically saying is that we want to approach the student [services and activities] fees fiscally responsibly," Ash said. "We don't want to see anyone not increase them, yet we don't want them increased 30 or 40 cents at a time without [student] input."

Ash said that because of the growing number of student organizations, the fees should be raised slightly every year.

"This is just there to make sure we keep up with the rate of inflation and don't go into a hole," he said. "This says that, at the very least, there will be an inflationary increase recommendation on the table every year."

Ash was quick to point out that only the president is restricted by this resolution. If students want to recommend a very large fee increase, SGA can vote to do so with a two-thirds majority.

"Don't make a mistake," Ash urged. "What it says is that if the president had 80 new organizations and we were desperately low on funding, at that point you would have to have 66 percent of the assembly agree on it, instead of the normal 50."

The resolution was also intended to send a message to the administration, Ash said.

"We want to increase [the fees] gradually to show them that we are not the type of organization that wants exponential [fee] increases anymore," he said. "We thought the best way we could tell the administration was by showing them."

Ash said the SGA would recommend a two-cent increase in student activity fees and a three-cent increase in student service fees for this year.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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