For the second year in a row, the Penn State student activity fee could see a rise.
The fee — which is currently $85 per semester for a University Park student taking nine credits or more — could rise by $2 to help keep up with the “consumer price index increase,” said University Park Allocation Committee Chair Jesse Scott.
Last year, the fee rose $3 from $82 per student. During the 2005-06 school year, the fee at University Park was $52.
The fee is to provide funds for the betterment of “the co-curricular environment” for students, according to the Student Activity Fee Board handbook.
The money incurred from the fees is allocated to groups like UPAC, the University Park Undergraduate Association and other student activities and commissions.
On Friday afternoon, Student Activity Fee Board members also discussed CCSG funding and the role of the UPAC chair on the board.
The board also discussed how the handbook states that the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments is supposed to be funded by a 1 percent allocation from every Commonwealth Campus. Even though the handbook states this, it isn’t being carried out as it should be, University Park Undergraduate Association representative on the board Spencer Malloy said.
“Either take it out of the book or enforce the rule that is in the book. As soon as you start threatening one student government, it comes back to all of us,” Malloy said.
When the student government organizations are on the same page, it’s easier to harmonize their point, Malloy said. If they’re not united, it’s easy to push them aside, he said.
Malloy addressed his concern of the UPAC chair’s position to vote on the board. He felt the UPAC chair should be given more of an advisory role on the board, rather than a position to vote.
“I am sort of proposing a conversation that I think we should have ultimately in the subcommittee about the membership of the board. Most specifically, the voting status of the overall UPAC Chair seat,” Malloy said.
He feels that UPAC is better at allocating rather than representing the students.
“You have to consult the students and ask them what they want done with [the money]. UPAC isn’t built to do that,” Malloy (senior-philosophy and agroecology) said.
By having the UPAC chair vote, it jeopardizes the reason why student representatives are there, Malloy said.
Malloy sees UPAC as a valuable committee but still doesn’t believe the group should have the power to both be the ones allocating money and also voting on how it’s spent.
Scott said his position is relatively unbiased because he doesn’t sit on a specific student government.
“In addition to [my] well-informed nature, I am also neutral. I don’t have a specific sub-group,” Scott (graduate-computer science and engineering) said.
A subcommittee was created to discuss the membership of the Student Activity Fee Board. The subcommittee, however, will not convene until after the student activity fee level has been voted on. Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Andrea Dowhower said it will most likely meet in January or soon after.
CCSG President Ben Clark said he thinks the committee shouldn’t be so heavily focused on UPAC.
“I think that if the idea of the board goes to subcommittee, I think it should be more focused on the membership of the board as a whole instead of honing in on one specific organization,” CCSG President Ben Clark said.