Student Government Association President Jacob Scott has authored a proposal that would reallocate the $75 full-time students pay each semester for the fiscal year of 2014.
On March 28, the Fee Advisory Committee held a meeting for the first time this semester. The committee, which was created to oversee the Student Success Act Fee, heard Scott’s proposal to repurpose the money.
While the future of the fee was unclear after the November advisory meeting, Scott has said that repealing the act was never really considered and he would rather like to focus reappropriating the money for the fiscal year of 2014 in areas he feels would benefit students.
“I don’t think I ever told the administration or the president directly that we need to repeal this,” Scott said. “The approach was more, we need to spend the money on things that students want, which I think there is a great amount of difference between those two ideals. The idea was never to repeal the act because the act does a good thing.”
Foreseeing state budget cuts for the 2013 fiscal year, SGA passed the Act in the spring of 2012 in order to keep certain student services that would go unfunded if Missouri Western did not have the funds to support those areas; however, those state budget cuts never occurred. Currently, the five areas that the money have been appropriated to are Recreation Services, the Center for Academic Support, the Student Success Center, Student Life and Career Services.
Scott’s new proposal outlines seven areas in which the money could be reappropriated. Those areas would be the Baker Fitness Center, Esry Health Center, Student Life, International Student Services, the Theatre Department, Blum Student Union, and Disability Services. The seven areas outlined are the areas Scott thinks would benefit students.
“This money is already in place. It could be used for a good purpose,” Scott said. “It just needs some guidance from the students as to how to spend it. So I think it’s important that we spend the money on things that we feel it needs to be spent on and we shouldn’t listen to anyone else that says it should be spent on other areas because after all it’s not anyone else’s fee but the student’s fee. These are the areas that students want to see improvement.”
Senator Travis Hart, who has been present at all fee advisory meetings, shared his concerns with the areas outlined in the new proposal.
“The current proposal that was brought up today, I don’t particularly care for,” Hart said. “I’m not quite sure that we can reallocate money away from the areas outlined in the Student Success Act. Now I would be open to possibly changing it, but the current programs that Jacob Scott put forward, I don’t necessarily agree that we should be putting that money towards that.”
Hart also said he thinks the fee is serving the original purpose that was outlined when the act was drafted.
“I’m also concerned about the Student Success Act,” Hart said. “If we take money away from the five current programs outlined in the proposal then maybe those budgets could be cut because the university is going to have to find about $700,000 that were previously allocated for these departments… I’m really concerned with moving the money away from these areas.”
SGA is currently working on two initiatives that overlap with the areas outlined in the proposal that was set forth by Scott. SGA is looking to pass another fee that would waive the cost for students visiting the health center and earlier this semester they were considering renovations to Blum Student Union. Aside from the overlap in those areas, Hart and committee faculty member Cosette Hardwick questioned redesignation $20,000 of the fee money toward the theatre department.
“I’m all in favor of allocating money to the theatre department,” Hardwick said “But its not included in what you were supposed to help fund which was everything else here so I’m not sure that really the theatre department can be included in that.”
After the meeting Hart shared his opinion on passing another fee and reallocating the money collected through the Studnet Success Act Fee.
“I’m going to vote no on the [Esry Heath Center] fee and I’m going to vote no on anything having to do with this,” Hart said.
With next Fee Advisory Committee meeting slated for April 11 it is unclear if the proposed reallocation will pass. After the April 11 meeting, the proposal will be presented to the SGA Senate and put to a vote at the April 15 meeting.