This archived article was written by: Rachel Prows
Figurative tears roll down a student’s face as they sign a check for their college tuition, fees and housing. Looking at the receipt that breaks down where this large sum of money goes, the student notices that there is $250 for “student fees.” A little confused at what the money, that could buy them 62 Big Macs from McDonalds is being used for, the student brushes it off apathetically for the rest of the semester.
The Student Fee Allocation Committee (SFAC) is a group consisting of the EUSA executive board and students chosen by the board from different fields of study. The process can vary from taking around four to eight weeks with weekly meetings varying from 1 to 3 hours each.
“The meetings are lots of discussion. When we are done discussing, we discuss some more. We read the requests that are made and try to make a decision based on how much the students use the services and we also ask the represented organizations to provide us with a request form for what they would like to have, how they are used, and how much they have saved from the student fees,” states Ben Bjarnson, student body president.
SUN Center, student life/activities, the BDAC, internet for the campus and many more things are funded by the $250 dollars required of the students that could be used for 1,000 packages of Ramen noodles instead. Some of the resources are used by students more than others. The computer lab in the Reeves, for instance, is not used as often as the BDAC or library. Giving more money to the less-used resources to keep them open for more hours than needed or give upgrades that aren’t necessary is what the SFAC decides on.
“Some requests are just too much and cannot be fulfilled without asking for money from the students,” Bjarnson says. The SFAC asks some of the organizations for more information in order to make the best decision for the students. None of the organizations ask for less money, in order to provide funding for those that need it more, deductions need to be made.
Currently there is also a bond to pay for the student center, in which $55 out of the student fees has to be given to until it is paid off. The bond is currently set to be paid off around the year 2018. After the JLSC is paid off, the $55 allocated to it will be freed from the bond to be distributed to other organizations or maybe even stay in the almost empty pockets of the college students. The SFAC attempted to put more money aside in the bond to have it paid off faster, but the motion to do that was denied by administration, so the bond remains at $55. That is approximately 23 gallons of Great Value 2% reduced fat milk.
With all of the organizations asking for more money, there has to be cuts made in places to accommodate the changes. Some requests just have to be met because of requirements from Logan, but other requests are unnecessary. The people who oversee the computer lab in the Reeves requested an outrageous increase to try and accommodate costs that were predicted to rise in the future with no guarantee or need. Claiming to have less money than all other campus computer labs, they felt entitled to have more money to roll in during the free time they have because there are only two people seen in the lab on 3/21/2016 at 3 p.m. playing games and watching videos.
Looking into the numbers and facts, the SFAC tried to reduce money from places like the Reeves computer lab, that didn’t show as much of a need for it as other organizations, but when the final decisions were returned by administration, they gave back a portion of the money that the committee took, leaving other organizations like the SUN Involvement Center and newspaper with less funds.
“I know the administration means well. One thing I remember in a training for student government is that they encouraged us to be brown-nosers towards administration. A concept that they cautioned leaders about is that our administration can out weigh all of the students and leaders,” states Bjarnson, “If they don’t like a student, they know they won’t be there in a year or two and that is kind of the curse of every higher education campus. So when the administration makes a change that is insignificant to the student fees, I have the fears that they are doing it for personal reasons that benefit them more than the students, but I also have the hope that their heart is in the right place.”
To accommodate the money that was asked for, the SFAC attempted to add $5 to the student fees. That is the equivalent of 1.7 packages of Oreos. When the fee allocation chart was returned, the price of student fees remained the same and administration took the reigns of making the decisions without SFAC. They added the money where they wanted it without asking students where they want their money to go and submitted it without consulting the committee that spent so many long weeks of boring meetings deciding on. Will the students ever know? Not unless they read this article. College students make the decision to stay apathetic in these situations and just sign the check that they have to in order to get a piece of paper that will help them get a mediocre job in the future to pay off their student loans.
Looking at this, it should leave a question in the minds of the students. Should the administration get any say in where the student fees go?
“I think having a say and having a final decision are two different things. A say would allow them to influence students on where their money goes and in a way they already do that with their budget requests. The final say, which is what the administration does have,Ii don’t think they should, unless they address the entire SFAC on the changes they are rejecting or changing,” said Bjarnson.