Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GUSA Finalizes Referendum for Student Activities Fee

The GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee presented a final referendum on Student Activities Fee and Endowment reform Tuesday. The change would increase the student activities fee from $100 to $150 by 2012 and fully allocate fee revenue to student activities.

For the 2011-2012 academic year, an initial increase in the student activities fee would occur, from $100 to $125. In the 2012-2013 school year, the fee would be increased again to $150. All interest earned from the student activities fee endowment would be allocated to student groups.

The altered policy would end the current practice of fee allocation between student activities funding and reserves buildup for the Student Activities Endowment.

In order to be passed, the referendum will have to be approved by the full Georgetown University Student Association Senate on Sunday. Afterward it will be put to a student body vote between Dec. 7 and Dec. 9. At least 2,000 students will have to participate for the passage of the referendum to be valid.

Sen. Gregory Laverriere (COL ’12), Fin/App Committee chair, justified the fee increase based on the budgetary needs of the six advisory boards. The presentation also came after the Student Activities Commission cut their budgets for all student groups by 27.5 percent for the year.

“Based on collecting draft proposals from the six boards, the number [with the new amount] came out to $800,000. We would only be at $600,000 if we allocated all of the current $100 fee,” Laverriere said.

Senators emphasized that the increase in funding would allow for more student groups to start up on campus.

“It’s really important to note that there is an unknown potential to benefit student life that more funding can allow – other [new] groups will come to us. Up until now there has been such a pinch on the budget that there hasn’t been room for that,” Sen. Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), a Fin/App member, said. “An increase in the Student Activities Fee is long overdue and will have a profound, positive impact on student life. It’s a modest fee increase, but will have a major impact on students.”

Laverriere was optimistic that the measure will be passed.

“Many senators have attended town halls, and I am fully confident that we will get two-thirds of the senate to vote in favor of sending this referendum to the student body,” he said.

Held in Room 120 of the Intercultural Center on Tuesday night, the town hall was the third that the Finance and Appropriations Committee has organized on SAFE reform. About 35 people were in attendance, the most the committee has seen at their town halls yet.

Students at the town hall had mixed reactions. Some suggested that the SAFE reform should just allocate the entirety of the current fee and not increase the fee in the coming years.

In response to this argument, senators emphasized that this plan was not meant to just solve current problems with the student activities fee but is also expected to establish a solid plan that will benefit student life in the long term.

“The easy thing to do is to just allocate 100 percent of the fee. We should not be passing a referendum that just solves current advisory board issues; it should look forward to 10 and 20 years down line,” Laverriere said.

Other students thought that the fee increase could be very helpful for student groups.

“Clubs like the International Relations Club could benefit from the fee increase. Due to lack of funding . we are forced to pass up the opportunity to go to various national and world [international relations]

conferences,” Randy Crooks (SFS ’13) said.

Sofia Navia (SFS ’13), a SAC chair, attended the town hall and voiced her opinion on the referendum.

“SAFE reform is a good way to increase funding. I hope that it will have the mechanisms to allocate appropriate funding,” she said.

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