Letter to the Editor— Shelby Rowell


Students, faculty, and fellow senators,

I stand before you all as a member of the Educational Opportunity Fund Committee, and the Student Fees Committee. I am writing to openly and plainly discuss the process of the deliberations, and the decisions made during these deliberations. Over the period of two weeks, these committees heard many requests for funding from many deserving departments, organizations, and scholarship funds on campus. Every single one of these organizations, departments, and scholarship funds are deserving of the full funding amount they requested. I cannot stress enough how many wonderful and meaningful programs we have on campus that at their core, serve students so well. Throughout these presentations, the only thing racing through my mind was, how can we cut these programs, and there must be a way to save them all. When we got to the final deliberation, however, I found out very quickly that there is no way to fund them fully to the extent they deserve without dramatically increasing student fees. So herein lies the predicament of student fees, do you cut programs to keep the fees low, or do you raise the fees to fund the programs sufficiently? As a committee, we felt we had an obligation to keep student fees low, capping our budget at a one percent increase. With that in mind, we went through every single item and deliberated. These deliberations were at times very contentious, but ultimately, we made each decision as a group, no matter how painful it was at times to come to a consensus. As a committee, we made these decisions, and as a committee, we must take responsibility for the budget we propose and the reaction of the student body to said decision.

That being said, I believe it is our duty as senators to listen to the will of the students. If the students believe that the committee has made a mistake in their proposal, you have an obligation as a senator to uphold the will of the students. If the students believe their needs are being met by this proposal, then again, you have the obligation to uphold the will of the student body. We as a senate are not meant to be rigid; we move with the will of the students. Our work directly impacts students’ lives. It is our job to work with them, and actively hear their concerns and address them. I am a firm believer in the fact that we can create a budget proposal that fits their needs while making sure we are being as mindful and responsible as possible while increasing student fees. I urge you all to leave your biases at the door and listen to the students, as I intend to do during this process. We have been elected and appointed to put students first, a noble oath that we all must follow. As Wednesday’s meeting progresses, keep that in your mind, as the Student Fees and Educational Opportunity Funds processes progress, keep that in your mind. I trust this legislative body will make the best decision for our constituents and for the university as a whole.

—Shelby Rowell is a Liberal Arts and Sciences Senator for Student Government, and also a member of the Educational Opportunity Fund Committee, Student Fees Committee Member

To submit a letter to the editor, please visit thesunflower.com/letter