View Bill 21-22-13
Senate Bill 21-22-13
|Student Fee Process
|Kislay Parashar, Student Body President ;Tamara Allard, Graduate Student Government President; Scott Cronin, Residence Hall Association President
|For over a decade, student fee process reform has been of interest to leaders across campus. In 2010, a letter was addressed to then-incoming President Loh expressing concern with the process and recommendations for improvement. In 2012, a University Senate policy was passed in relation to the process by which student fees are considered, yet this process has not been consistently followed.
In the fall of 2020, student leaders sent a memo to President Pines, Provost Rankin, Vice President for Student Affairs Perillo, and other leaders hoping to move the ball on these decades-old procedural issues. After an initial conversation, no additional progress was made.
The goal of this proposal is to increase transparency and establish in policy what many stakeholders have already agreed upon. The current practices and policies in place do not align with our university’s values, specifically those of unity, accountability, empowerment and growth. While our student fee process is more rigorous than those at some of our peer institutions, we believe there is significant room for improvement.
These processes related to establishing and modifying student fees are important as students are the only ones who pay these fees and are the key stakeholders in relation to them. The changes to current policy that we propose would not address any financial aspect of existing student fees, but rather improve the processes through which student fees are considered, as was done by the Senate in 2012.
The specific recommendations are made in Appendix A of this proposal. Although some are changes that can be addressed administratively, several will require policy. We hope that any committees charged with considering this proposal will carefully consider whether the proposed changes align with the university’s values and create more transparency in the student fee process.
As a staple of shared governance, addressing the procedural concerns students have with their student fees is an important first step in creating a more equitable, transparent, and inclusive process and building on the policies that were previously passed in 2012.
We would like the existing policy to be revised in line with the following provisions:
1- Establish an expectation for a consistent schedule for advisory groups. This would include a minimum number of meetings scheduled to allow for the time necessary for each student appointee to gather feedback on proposed budgets and changes. This can be a general timeline that preserves reasonable flexibility for departments (e.g. the first meeting must be held in the first month of the academic year). Departments can increase, but not decrease, the minimum frequency of meeting times as they see fit.
2- Students should have the majority of seats on committees that directly consider, review, or approve any changes to, or creation of, student fees. Faculty/staff should not have a majority of seats on committees that discuss any fees that only students pay. Currently, there are 7 student seats and 8 faculty/staff seats on the Committee for the Review of Student Fees (CRSF).
3- Require each unit to establish a point person for the fee review process. This individual would be responsible for understanding fee policy and history, collecting and sharing data, developing a comprehensive budget for the use of any student funds, and responding to student emails and questions. Names and contact information for these point people should be provided by units to the CRSF.
4- Require unit advisory bodies to share vote tallies and general notes on discussions, perhaps in the form of a pros/cons list, to CRSF.
5- Require CRSF to provide a report of findings to the President's Cabinet and justifications for its recommendations, rather than just vote totals, so that student voices are not lost and a more robust record is maintained.
6- Require explanations when decisions are overturned. Last year, for example, the Campus Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) and CRSF provided one recommendation, but the decision was overturned at the President's cabinet level with no explanation.
7- Share minutes/vote totals from CRSF and Cabinet conversations. Committee members should also be told what they can and cannot share throughout the process.
|Under Review By:
|Vice President for Finance & Chief Financial Officer
|Decision Due By:
|Senate Executive Committee (SEC)
|The SEC voted to forward the proposal to the VP for Finance & Chief Financial Officer for administrative action and requested that he report back on the steps taken by July 1, 2022.
|VP for Finance & Chief Financial Officer Review