LTTE: Student Fees Committee is improved, but still not perfect

As a member of the Student Fees Committee, Willome is sharing his personal opinions, not those of the entire committee

I commend the current Student Government Administration for its efforts to add representation and transparency to this year’s student fees process.

The inclusion of more representatives from all colleges and class levels was in the best interest of the student body. The change allowed me to serve as the graduate student representative, what was previously a nonexistent position. The committee now better reflects the student body as a whole.

Every committee meeting was open to the public. Students deserve the ability to hear arguments and decisions about how fees are allocated. Transparency should continue to be the rule and not the exception.

Procedurally, all members were given the opportunity to voice their opinions. Even with a significantly larger membership, the meeting was civil and efficient.

While this year’s process was mostly positive, it was not without fault. Representation of organizations requesting funding was far from equitable during deliberations on Monday.

Ex officio members of the committee, such as Vice President of Student Affairs Teri Hall, have a responsibility to inform and advise the committee on procedure, but abuse their seat at the table when they defend their own organizations or criticize other organizations that have no voice during deliberations.

Hall, as leader of the Student Affairs division, which receives a large chunk of student fees, has substantial stake in the outcomes of those meetings. It’s likely unrealistic to expect her to cease activity during deliberations, but organizations such as Formula and Baja SAE should be equally able to defend themselves from her criticism during deliberations.

All things considered, I believe this year’s committee represented substantial progress, and I am proud of our recommendation to better fund student organizations and rectify funding cuts made by previous committees.

John Willome

Graduate Student Representative, Student Fees Committee