The Students’ Association Senate approved a $25 increase to the Student Activities fee. In addition to providing SA groups with $90,000 this year, the proposal will also reorganize and improve the system of group approval and evaluation. This is the first successful proposal to increase the activities fee since 1999. Some senators questioned the necessity of these changes. “I just feel we’re using this funding as an excuse for someone’s inability to balance the budget,” junior and SA Senator Krystle Dixon said. “Most of the kids I talked to are not in favor of it.””I think this is just an easy out, and it only benefits students in clubs,” sophomore and SA Senator Alex Cantor said.Junior and SA Senator Geoff Bowser also expressed doubts. “I’m a little worried about how the proposed increase and reorganization will be implemented,” he said. However, most agreed that the changes were needed and welcome. “We need this money to make all the groups we’re approving functional,” Bowser said. Despite his concerns, he supported the proposal. “If we don’t approve it, we’ve failed to [do our job].”The proposal has the approval of Dean of Students Jody Asbury. “What I like about it is there’s a companion piece which makes groups more accountable,” she said. “It wouldn’t have received my endorsement [without that].”Former Students’ Association Appropriations Committee Treasurer and junior Carolyn Kaminski agreed the proposal was an improvement. “The student activities fee increase will allow groups to have more, higher quality programs, which will benefit the entire campus,” she said.Junior and SA Senator Steve D’Amico agreed that the budget problems were not caused by irresponsibility. “It’s ridiculous to say that clubs aren’t doing their best to meet budgets,” he said. “I remember last year Danielle [Friedman] was yelling at us because [Medical Emergency Response Team] got cut, and if we’re cutting MERT, you know something’s wrong.”Senior and Speaker of the Senate Alex Voetsch argued that this fee increase would benefit all students, not just those in SA groups. “I personally have never been in a student group, but I’ve been to Tropicana, I’ve been to Cinema Group movies, [and they are funded by price index,” Senator Nat Powell, sophomore, said. “Or else we should include a provision to review it every five years.” The reorganization of the group system is as important as the fee increase. The money needed by each group has increased naturally with inflation and cost-of-living increases, and the number of groups has increased as well, with ten new groups added every year over the past three years. There are now 181 SA-recognized student groups, and roughly 70 of them receive SA funding. However, there was no method of removing disorganized or defunct groups. “Right now no one is in charge of the accountability aspect,” said junior Pete Nabozny, deputy speaker of the Senate. “We want to address that.”SA President Chris Calo, senior, pointed out the problems with the group system. “There are two reasons to approve this. One, there’s not enough money to go around, and two – the group system is not working, it’s not efficient,” he said.The Policy Committee is a permanent committee of the SA Senate,however, the details of the new proposal are vague. When asked how inactive groups would be removed, Voetsch said, “The specifics of how that will work aren’t figured out yet, but the policy committee will make that decision.”When discussion ended, all Senators present voted to approve the measure except for Senator Alex Cantor, sophomore, who voted to abstain, and Dixon and Nat Powell, sophomore, who voted to abstain.

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