Senate Notes: Summer Session Yields Fee Increase Warning

Gin Dumcius

The Student Senate met several times in sparse numbers over the summer, discussing various issues, including a possible student fee increase in the spring semester.

According to minutes of a July meeting provided to The Mass Media, Senator Reuben Urmeneta told the small group of senators gathered to begin “seriously thinking of a student fee increase for next spring.” The Budget and Finance committee, which Urmeneta chairs, will be looking into the issue, including ways a fee increase can be prevented. Recommendations from the committee are expected to be made sometime in October.

The senate previously grappled with the issue of a fee increase back in February. Due to a switch in the way credits are calculated, an estimated forty-four thousand dollar shortfall was expected in the Student Activities Trust Fund. The senate was forced to decide whether or not to recommend that the Board of Trustees to make a 20% increase in the Student Activities fee, upping the fee from $62 to $75, ultimately voting against it.

Plans Revealed To Help Drum Up Senate Interest

The senate will be looking at several ways come fall to raise its visibility on campus.

At the July meeting, Campus and Community Affairs chairman Will Roach proposed ice cream and popcorn tables during Opening Week festivities, where Student Senate literature would be handed out. Senator Roach also suggested that CCA and the Student Events and Organizations Committee look into a 30 to 50 person trip to F1 Boston, a Braintree go-kart and billiards arena.

The aim is “promoting SGA activities to a largely unaware student body” Senator Jesse Solomon wrote in the July meeting’s minutes. “Will cited the trip’s main goal would be to engage with other students in a lively, entertaining atmosphere about what SGA [Student Government Association] and other campus RSOs [Recognized Student Organization] have to offer.”

The trip would cost an estimated $3,800 to $4,300, depending on the number of people.

On another public relations front, Senator Bryan Smith will heading up the creation of Student Senate logos. Each committee will submit its design, which will then be sent to the University Communications Department. It is expected to be done by the fall semester, to help with the senate’s public image problems.

The senate has long suffered from low interest and low visibility on the part of the student body, evident most markedly in the past several years’ worth of abysmal turnout on election days. Less than four hundred people went to the polls last April to vote a small number of candidates into office, many of them incumbents.

Senate On The Web

The senate website is up and running, with a new URL: Log on to find your senator’s e-mail, information about starting a student organization, and look at senate bylaws.