Sunset Student Fees!

One idea in SBP Hogan Medlin’s platform I’d like to see implemented is adding a sunset clause on all student fees/student fee increases voted upon by the student body. At the moment, all inertia is going towards student fees annually increasing. There is really no means to review the level of student fees and determine whether an increase years ago is still appropriate for today.

The Renewable Energy Fee works in a similar fashion: each year, we vote whether or not to continue levying the $4 fee to improve the sustainability of our university. This is completely fair because it doesn’t mean we pay the price for decisions made by previous students in a different historical context. For example, in years past, students have consistently voted to increase the Student Activities Fee. But now we’re in a rough economic environment, and people want to be as frugal as possible. Do you really think these students would choose to fund more and diverse content provided by student organizations? Or should they take that money and put it to what they believe to be is a better use? I think the latter. Unfortunately, we do not have a choice in the matter, and students’ wishes at the moment are ignored.

The basic schematic for how this would work would be add a four-year sunset clause to each new student fee levied and each student fee increase, which means, every four years, that fee or increase would expire unless re-approved by a majority of students. Stud gov types would complain that this would mean that the amount of money available to student groups would fluctuate or even decrease (egads!), to which I respond, so what. We’re supposed to be catering to students, not the special interests embedded in Student Congress and on the Finance Committee. So if students vote to allow a fee or increase to expire, that means they’d prefer to spend that money in the way they see fit. If only student government saw it that way…

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