University working to remove space fees as part of reallocation of tuition dollars to student programming boards

Update, 8:00 pm: In an email to Vox, Assistant Dean for Student Engagement Erika Cohen-Derr clarified that GUSA’s press release from Monday night was prompted by the Division of Student Affair’s wider reallocation of tuition dollars, one of the three methods that student organizations are funded, among the six student programming boards. The elimination of space fees, in other words, wasn’t supposed to be as big of a deal as it is now.

A memo sent to the student programming boards and obtained by Vox stated that that the tuition dollar distribution set in 2001 was no longer appropriate to today’s student activities. “The landscape of student activity programming has shifted,” the memo reads. “Increasing costs for major campus programming mean that organizations like Georgetown Program Board and Lecture Fund are challenged to bring in high quality performers or speakers on comparatively low budgets, relative to peer institutions.”

Beginning fiscal year 2015, Student Affairs will provide all the boards with receive 27.5 percent of their expected budget using tuition dollars. The expected budget was determined by the boards’ average budgets in fiscal years 2012-14. The Advisory Board for Club Sports will see an 886 percent (yes, 886 percent) increase in the allocation of tuition dollars to their 2015-16 budget. Media Board, which benevolently oversees the Voice (and therefore Vox) and others, will see a 21.7 percent fall.

Those involved with discussions about the cost reallocation also highlighted the expenses student organizations incurred to reserve space on campus. The memo states that Student Affairs will work towards eliminating space fees, but there is no definitive answer on when this will be done. “We believe that we can eliminate space fees for the majority of the … [Office of Campus Activity Facilities] programming spaces,” the memo reads.

According to the memo, the on-campus spaces that will no longer incur space fees for student groups will include the McShain Lounges, Bulldog Alley, Leavey Program Room, Leavey Club Room, and rooms in Reynolds Hall and the future Healey Family Student Center.

Original post: GUSA announced the University will eliminate space fees for most student programming spaces by fiscal year 2015. Fees for formal event spaces, including Gaston Hall, Copley Formal, and the ICC and Lohrfink Auditoriums will still remain. Spaces in the New South Student Center, set to open in before the fall semester of 2014, will have no space fees.

The GUSA Senate Finance & Appropriations Committee is also updating the amount of tuition funding allocated to student groups by GUSA (from the Student Activities Fee) and the Division of Student Affairs.

GUSA, in the statement released yesterday, finds that the funds had been “allocated very unevenly” with the amounts having remained the same for over a decade. Now, student groups will receive roughly 27.5 percent of their budgets from Student Affairs.

Student Affairs will also cover costs such as Hoyalink, SAC Fairs, and administrative costs, which the statement says “removes the burdens of these expenses from advisory boards and the Student Activities Fee.”

Read the memo from Student Affairs and GUSA’s full statement below.

Editor’s note: the original version of this post was titled, ‘University to remove fees for majority of student programming spaces’.

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