After weeks of town hall meetings, the GUSA Senate’s Finance and Appropriations Committee unanimously passed Student Activities Fee Endowment reform legislation on Wednesday night. The GUSA Senate will vote on the SAFE reform bill on Sunday.
The proposed reform will increase the student activities fee to $62.50 per semester during the 2011-2012 academic year. During the 2012-2013 academic year, the fee will be raised to $75 per semester. After that, the fee will increase indefinitely at the standard rate of inflation.
Currently, students pay a fee of $50 per semester. According to a FinApp Committee report, the fee generates approximately $630,000 per academic year.
SAFE reform will allocate the whole of the student activities fee to “student life,” according to a report published by the FinApp Committee. Under current University policies, half of the fee is allocated to a student activities endowment. (The reform will also allocate the endowment’s interest.) The endowment, which was created in 2001, was originally meant to reach $10 million by 2011, generate self-sustaining interest, and replace the fee. However, the endowment is worth only $1.9 million today, thanks to economic decline.
If passed on Sunday by the GUSA Senate, SAFE reform will then face a campus-wide referendum. To pass referendum, a majority of at least 2,000 voting students must support the reform. Barring a “no” vote from the GUSA Senate, the referendum is scheduled to be held between December 7 through December 9, according to Senator Greg Laverriere, chair of the FinApp Committee.
“If approved, student life will finally be given the needed financial support to ensure continued growth and health for years to come,” the report reads.
“Planning for the Future,” FinApp’s report on SAFE reform: