Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

SGA discusses options for reform of the Student Activities Fee increase

Raising student fees is “a small Band-Aid on a very, very deep cut.”
Dylan Nguyễn

The 1910th regular Senate meeting of the Student Government Association (SGA) convened on Wednesday, March 27, in the Cape Cod Lounge at the Student Union. Newly elected officers were congratulated, and discussions regarding the sustainability of Student Activities Fee (SATF) funding for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) took place.

The meeting started with announcements about upcoming campus events, as Anna Robbins, on behalf of the Fine Arts Center, highlighted the Spring Arts Festival. “We have a whole month full of activities for students, faculty and staff,” Robbins said, including musical performances, art exhibitions, theater and more.

President Tess Weisman is back to full service after a period of absence and Vice President Joshua Gauthier declared that his “very short reign as acting president has come to an end.” Weisman and Gauthier extended their congratulations to the newly elected officials.

Chair Michel Flanagan addressed proposed amendments to the General Bylaws, encouraging SGA members to participate in the decision making process. Flanagan emphasized the long-term impact of these amendments and said, “It’s a great opportunity to be involved in something that will impact not just SGA today but SGA in five years.”

SGA Advisor Sid Ferreira commended members for their efforts in voter turnout, noting the impressive participation rate of over 13 percent of the student body. Ferreira specifically thanked Speaker Jackie Fallon for her diligence in advocating for voting.

The focal point of the meeting was the discussion surrounding the Student Activities Fee increase (SATF). Chair Pranav Joshi explained that the continuous rise in RSO budget allocations puts significant strain on the S-1 budget and the SATF.

The SATF, funded by a $266 annual fee paid by undergraduate students, “financially supports 12 Agencies, approximately 300 Registered Organizations (RSOs) and the Student Government Association each academic year” through the allocation of funds by the SGA Ways and Means Committee, said Joshi.

Joshi outlined how the increase in RSO funding for FY23, due to leftover COVID funds, led to proposed fee adjustments to offset rising costs. He proposed increasing the $266 Student Activities fee that students currently pay into the SATF, but said this would obviously increase costs for students. Joshi said this solution would be “a small Band-Aid on a very, very deep cut.”

Gauthier responded that the SGA must reform the ways and means process instead of coming up with a short-term solution which could negatively impact the student body.

Fallon announced a meeting on Thursday, March 28, at 3 p.m., dedicated to discussing the SATF issue, urging SGA members to attend and contribute their insights towards finding a sustainable solution.

Weisman concluded the meeting by ratifying the 2024 Spring General Elections, officially announcing Colin Humphries and Dale Leone as the new president and vice president, respectively, along with Felicity Oliveira as the new university student trustee.

Eva Maniatty can be reached at [email protected]

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