Members of the GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee met for a second Student Activities Fee and Endowment reform town hall, this time discussing the possibility of raising the fee by anywhere from $5 to $100.
“After the last town hall [on Oct. 27], a few students reached out to us and asked about raising the fee because Georgetown’s fee is currently in the bottom 25 percent of peer institutions,” Fin/App Chair Greg Laverriere (COL ’12) said.
In response to these suggestions, Georgetown University Student Association proposed to increase the fee by an amount ranging from $5 to $100 in their presentation in order to meet the needs of the overall student body and advisory boards.
“The school will likely not be increasing its funding of student groups, so the burden is on GUSA,” Fin/App member Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) said.
In their presentation of the potential fee hike, Fin/App members said that with a minimum increase of $70 and full allocation of the $170 to funding student activities, there would be over $1 million to allocate to student clubs.
Senators also retained the proposal to allocate 100 percent of the Student Activities Fee to student groups, as well as a possible rise in the fee to match inflation.
Compared to the Oct. 27 forum, this town hall drew a larger crowd of about 30 students to discuss the potential changes to the Student Activities Fee.
In order to better assess the needs of the student groups, Laverriere said that the Fin/App Committee had spoken with the advisory boards and encouraged them to prepare to make budget shifts. The Fin/App Committee also stressed the need for each student group to figure out how much additional funding they would like to request and justify their increased need.
“This will help us get a better idea of what the fee should be raised to if needed. There are also a lot of capital projects concerning student space and student safety around campus that could be funded over the next couple of years,” Laverriere said.
Senators also stressed the need to get student feedback on SAFE reform.
“To ensure that this referendum is legitimate we will continue our efforts to educate the student body – however, decisions are made by those who show up. I’m sure some will oppose and criticize our efforts, but if those people don’t voice their opinion, attend our town halls and participate, then their opinion won’t really matter,” Malkerson said.
Students can get involved with SAFE reform through talking to their senators or emailing the Fin/App Committee at GUSAFinanceandAppropriationsgmail.com. GUSA representatives also stressed that students are welcome to attend GUSA Senate meetings on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. in Healy Hall, as well as Fin/App Committee meetings Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the GUSA office.
Wednesday’s meeting was not the last word on the final SAFE reform referendum. There will be another town hall on Nov. 9, when Fin/App will most likely present a tentative plan to bring to a vote.