Student Fees

 Uncategorized
Apr 142004
 
Authors: Colleen Buhrer

Chuck Fogland says the Associated Students of CSU Student

Funding Board has been allocating student fees in an unfair

manner.

Fogland, chairman of the CSU College Republicans, and other CSU

Republicans members collected signatures Wednesday on the Lory

Student Center Plaza to petition ASCSU to change its funding

practices. They collected almost 160 signatures on a petition

stating, “We resolve that the Funding Board of ASCSU shall not fund

any student organization (whose primary purpose and activities

support or oppose any political party).”

The SFB receives a portion of student fees, which it allocates

to registered student organizations.

“Any group that is a registered student organization has the

right to request funding,” said Linda Kuk, vice president for

Student Affairs.

Within all the student fees the university collects, ASCSU

receives approximately $22.80 per student, Kuk said. Half of this

goes to fund the Transfort bus system and the other half goes to

ASCSU spending and the funding board allocations.

SFB allocates money to organizations based on criteria

established in its bylaws. These bylaws state, “ASCSU will not fund

the general organizational and operational costs of registered

student organizations which are political, religious, housing and

recreational sports organizations, or fraternities and

sororities.”

Fogland argues that organizations such as Action Awareness and

the Palestinian Student Association are primarily political

organizations and for that reason should not receive funding.

“We just need to enforce the rules that are on the books,” he

said. “If they are going to fund (Action Awareness), they should

fund the other side. It needs to be a fair playing field.”

Mae Pagett, a member of Action Awareness, disagreed with Fogland

that funding the organization violates SFB bylaws.

“Every statement you make can be considered political,” said

Pagett, a junior sociology major. She said that Action Awareness is

not supporting any political candidate or party, but that it is

acting as an outlet for students to have their voices heard. “It is

crucial that despite what (students’) voice is, they should be

allowed a voice.”

Fogland and the CSU College Republicans plan to draft a contract

for organizations to sign when they receive funding indicating its

purpose. They will be using this draft and the signatures acquired

for their petition when they present to SFB next week.

SFB generally continues funding organizations throughout the

year until the money runs out, Kuk said. If students are unhappy

with the groups that are receiving funding from student fees, they

must go to SFB and appeal.

Fogland encourages “students to find out exactly where their

student fees are going.”

SFB bylaws define a political group as “any organization whose

primary purpose and activities support or oppose any political

party; support or oppose a ballot measure or a drive to put an

issue on the ballot measure; or support a candidate or group of

candidates formally running in an election for office.”

Once an organization is classified in a category allowing

funding, SFB cannot allocate fees based on the content of the

program, said Katie Clausen, vice president of ASCSU.

“(SFB) cannot make a decision on whether they like the program

or not,” Kuk said.

This is in part due to the Supreme Court decisions in Board of

Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth et al.

(2000). In this case, the court held “The First Amendment permits a

public university to charge its students an activity fee used to

fund a program to facilitate extracurricular student speech,

provided that the program is viewpoint neutral.”

This holding essentially said that ASCSU may use student fees to

fund student organizations so long as it does not allocate the

money on the basis of content.

Kuk said organizations request money for programming only.

“Student fee monies do not go for running organizations,” she

said. Organizations can have their funding revoked for mismanaging

the money, but not for political reasons, she said.

From the beginning

The process for allocating all student fees begins with the

Student Fee Review Board. SFRB reviews the allocation of all fees

outside of what goes to ASCSU to spend on the bus system, ASCSU and

student organizations. SFRB recommends funding for or against some

student services and whether or not to increase the funding of an

organization.

Then the board writes a report about why it voted for or against

an organization that is sent to Kuk. The board has finalized the

recommendation for this year and will do a final vote next week,

Kuk said.

She reviews the recommendation to make sure everything is

complying with processes and procedures. Mainly she looks at

whether SFRB acted arbitrarily in making its decisions, but

generally everything is accepted, Kuk said. CSU President Larry

Penley then reviews the recommendation and sends it on to the Board

of Governors for the CSU System, which makes the final

approval.

If students are unhappy with paying student fees for any of the

services the fees go to, they can appeal to Kuk’s office.

“(A student) has to have a really unusual reason for wanting to

be exempt from the fees,” she said. Examples of viable reasons

include students studying abroad or full-time students living in

Denver and taking most classes online. In both these examples, the

students would likely not use the services provided by student

fees. If a student simply doesn’t like a fee and doesn’t want to

pay it, that is not a viable reason to be exempt from the fee, she

said.

Kuk said very few students appeal. Last semester about 12

students appealed.

Kuk said students certainly can appeal fees, but just because

students choose not to use the services does not mean they don’t

pay for them.

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