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Volume 70, Issue 43, Thursday, October 21, 2004


Students to vote on fee cap

SGA opts for campus vote; bill would cut funding 
by 1 percent over two years

By Portia-Elaine Gant
Senior Staff Writer

After weeks of discussion on whether to lower the maximum amount of Student Service Fee revenue any organization may receive, the Student Government Association Senate on Wednesday voted to put the decision in the hands of the students.

Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Sen. Mark D. Annas amended his bill calling for a one percent reduction in the 35 percent fee funding cap. The bill, which the Senate approved at its meeting Wednesday, now calls for a student referendum on the matter.

Student Government Association President Jon Quintanilla (standing, left) speaks during Wednesday's Senate meeting. The group voted to hold a campus referendum on lowering the Student Service Fee funding cap.

Kristen Ortwerth/The Daily Cougar

The only organization that receives the maximum 35 percent of fee money is the Athletics Department. Dave Maggard, the department's director, was slated to speak at the Senate meeting, but he was unable to attend.

"This is not about Athletics, but about Student Service Fees," Annas said. "If the maximum is at 35 percent and Athletics is always what hits 35 percent, other people are getting left behind."

Although the Senate agreed the cap should be lowered, giving the students a vote was essential to the legislation's approval.

"I don't think it's fair for any student organization to receive such a big chunk of the budget, and I would like to see that slashed a lot lower," Law Sen. A.J. Alexander said. "However, it's going to go to the students, and we should support the students' decision. It shouldn't matter if we love Athletics or hate it; we are letting the right body make the decision."

If the reduction is approved, the Senate estimated Athletics will receive $90,000 less by 2007. Those funds would be freed for distribution to other fee-funded groups.

In other business, SGA President Jon Quintanilla updated the Senate on bids from prospective University food service providers. The contract with Chartwells, the current provider, will expire in August.

"Four major companies have asked to take over 100 percent of the system: Aramark, Sodexho, Chartwells and Pappas," Quintanilla said. "There were also 70 small groups that want to set up shop in the UC or the Satellite."

He said the University will set up a number of focus groups to gauge student opinion on the bidders, beginning next week.

The Senate also approved two new bills, one calling for a $2 increase in the international education fee and another regarding the length of classes.

Because there is no explicit policy on the length of class meetings, the bill proposes one minute of travel time for every six minutes of class time. So an hour-long class would end 10 minutes before the hour.

Alexander was the author of both bills.

The Senate also approved four new business senators, filling the vacant seats for that college. Crystal Bott, Elizabeth Davila, Charles Thompson III and Paul Viscontini were sworn in as business senators.

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