The University of Maryland SGA passed a bill to add a referendum question about increasing the student activities fee to its 2024 election ballot and a resolution in support of mandatory Title IX training for teaching assistants at its meeting Wednesday.

The referendum question comes after the Student Government Association cut student groups’ budgets throughout this academic year.

The SGA has used surplus funds from academic years during the COVID-19 pandemic to supplement the insufficient funding from the student activities fee, according to Nitya Shah, the SGA’s chief financial officer. The surplus is running out — with about $200,000 left — and by the 2025-26 school year, this money would be exhausted, he said.

In order to avoid further severe budget cuts, the SGA will ask students on the upcoming ballot if student activities fees should be raised by $6 for full-time students and $3 for part-time students per semester, starting in the 2025-26 school year.

The 2023-24 student activities fee is $42.50 for full-time students and $21 for part-time students.

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“As things are getting more expensive, and our pool of money is staying the same, we are losing the ability to fund as many groups or fund as many purchases and expenses as we historically have been able to,” Alexandra DeBus, SGA president and senior biochemistry major, said.

The student activities fee amount can be “altered through a favorable vote” by the SGA on a referendum question, according to the bill passed Wednesday.

Shah encouraged students to vote “yes” on the referendum. Some student groups may not have been able to hold their regular events due to the amount lost to budget cuts, he added.

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“If this goes down even more, and there’s more cuts that are happening with our groups, we could see many groups funnel the way out of campus due to funding issues,” Shah, a senior government and politics major, said.

Justin Yang, a freshman computer science major, said the increase proposed in the referendum is a good thing because it will help student groups.

“The students will be putting in money for basically themselves because it’s student groups, so it’s for the students,” Yang said.

The SGA also passed a resolution Wednesday supporting mandatory Title IX training for all teaching assistants.

Junior criminology and criminal justice major Reese Artero is the SGA’s off-campus neighboring representative and the sponsor of the resolution. Providing mandatory training would equip TAs with the tools to support their students, she said.

The mandatory training would help ensure TAs are aware of sexual assault and misconduct reporting procedures, according to the resolution.

Danica Choi, the SGA’s sexual misconduct prevention director, wants the TA training to be more expansive and encompass sexual misconduct, mental health and academic integrity.

“Some TAs get training for it and some don’t, and everyone needs it,” Choi, a senior government and politics major, said.