The Graduate Student Government proposed legislation Friday that would require student fee proposals to be presented to the entire assembly.
Adria Schwarber, the vice president of academic affairs, drafted the legislation to increase transparency about the fee proposal process, which affects the entire student body.
Despite previous discussions with the broader graduate student community about fee proposals, there hasn’t been a required formal presentation, Schwarber said.
“Students want to know what the purpose of these fees are, where their money is going and the reason the executive board — the people who are approving these fees — are approving them,” Schwarber said.
Individual offices had to submit proposals to increase fees by Sept. 19.
A committee including Schwarber and Stephanie Cork, president of the GSG, along with representatives from the Student Government Association, University Senate, Residence Hall Association and faculty, then vote on or revise the proposals. In recent years, the majority of the fee proposals have only been a few dollars [[are there more specific numbers?]], so most graduate students didn’t mind them, Schwarber said.
But this year, there are two large proposals: a $40 increase for the Division of Information Technology, which would go toward fixing the Wi-Fi and cybersecurity, and a $34 increase for the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct, which would go toward funding the Title IX office.
Schwarber said these larger fee increases spurred the executives to discuss the fees with the larger student body.
“Not only is this increasing transparency, but we also want their feedback, because this is kind of controversial,” Schwarber said. “It’s so large compared to the past, so we want to make sure that everyone is on the same page about this fee proposal.”
Following the SGA’s lead, the GSG is hosting a town hall Oct. 20 to discuss the fees with the student body. The GSG, RHA and SGA have met to discuss the proposals and collaborate more over the past couple of months, Schwarber said.
“Us all working together as students, not just undergraduates and graduates, is really important and the undergraduates have given us really great ideas about how we could increase transparency,” Schwarber said.
Although graduate and undergraduate students have different needs, Cork said it’s important to work closely together on student fees.
“A unified voice is very powerful … We’re going by their example, being transparent, being engaged and talking together with our communities as presidents,” Cork said. “If we have 10,000 graduate students and 40,000 undergraduates then we can get a lot done.”