Senators approve activity fee increase
Associate News Editor
After a month of debate and committee work, the Student Senate passed a resolution Wednesday night calling for the University to raise the student activity fee.
Unlike previous resolutions the Senate considered, however, the one passed Wednesday night called for a $15 dollar increase for the 2002-2003 school year but made no mention of additional increases in later years. The resolution initially proposed called for the fee to go increase by $10, but by a vote of 14-10, senators decided to change the amount to $15.
Earlier versions debated at past meetings called for an initial $10 increase in 2002-2003 and then a $5 every other year until the fee reached $100.
The resolution will now be sent to the Campus Life Council. If the CLC approves of the increase as well, the resolution will go before Father Mark Poorman, vice-president of Student Affairs, who will determine whether and by how much to increase the fee.
Before the Senate voted on the final resolution, three students spoke in favor of raising the fee.
Mary Barter from the Equestrian Club told senators that her club would benefit from additional money that would potentially be available from the Club Coordination Council if the student activity fee is raised.
Describing her organization as "a club with a large budget and small allocation," Barters said that her club spends $30,000 a year in order to compete, although their CCC allocation is $2800 and RecSports allocation is $1900. The rest of the money, she said, comes from funding the club raises itself, including $630 dues each member pays.
"It leads to a situation where the average student is not going to be able to do this," said Barter. "It's a club with a lot of interest, but many members leave and the reason is [they] can't afford to do it."
Another student who addressed the senate was Molly Lewis of the Physics Club, a group which senators had criticized at earlier meetings for using its money to purchase pizza.
The club does much more than eat pizza at its meetings, Lewis said. It conducts tutoring sessions and organizes special events with professors. She also pointed out that CCC allocated the Physics Club $250 last year.
"If we were just going to buy pizza, that wouldn't even supply it for the whole year," said Lewis. "To say that the Physics Club is the epitome of waste at Notre Dame is a little off."
John Hagan, the outgoing CCC club coordinator, also encouraged the Senate to approve the resolution.
"The student activity fee increase would add to the number of events for students and keep the cost of events lower," he said.
Hagan added that the CCC was placing a cap on the amount of money clubs could spend on food that is not part of a larger event.
Brooke Norton, student body president, added that increasing the student activity fee would allow groups such as the Student Union Board to sponsor larger events that more students would be interested in.
"We can't afford big concerts. That's what students complain about the most," said Norton.
All students would benefit from the increase, added Zahm senator Colin Harding.
"This money is going to the Student Union and we're all part of the Student Union," he said.
However, some senators argued that the fee should not be raised, especially in light of how the money was being spent.
"I think you all really need to think about the events that are going on. You need to think about the quality of events," said Pasquerilla East senator Nikki McCord. "They're not up to par."
McCord and Siegfried senator Brian McKenna tried to get the Senate to table the resolution in order to allow senators to discuss with their hall councils the fact that the fee would be raised from $10 to $15. However, senators rejected the tabling and voted 18-9 to approve the resolution.
In other Senate news:
uThe Senate unanimously confirmed Jason King and Donald Norton as assistant Student Union treasurers.
All News Stories for Thursday, February 28, 2002