STUDENT GOVERNMENT: Student Affairs agrees to work with SG over A&S fee governance

President Judy Genshaft has signed the Activity and Service (A&S) Fee Allocation Bill into law, along with an accompanying memorandum.

The bill permits the distribution of $10.9 million in A&S fees for the 2008-2009 school year. These fees are collected from the students at a rate of $8.79 per credit hour, plus a $7 flat fee.

The memorandum creates a closer relationship between Student Government (SG) and the University when it comes to the governance of A&S fees. However, the technicalities need to be worked out.

The memorandum called for two new processes: approval of the transfer of funds and a quarterly report outlining the usage of A&S money from SG and Student Affairs. How each entity will go about requesting this information or submitting its budget report is unknown.

Any entity within SG or Student Affairs must ask for permission if it wants to transfer more than 5 percent or $5,000 between categories. All submissions must be given to the Senate Interim Funding and Transfer Committee (IFTC), which will approve or deny the request within five business days. The committee can only deny transfers if it finds that they break University or state statutes.

“What we have to do now is come up with the approval process,” said Dean of Students Kevin Banks. “Those are things we’ll have to work out with the (IFTC).”

Nicole Randazzo, SG chief of staff, is in the process of putting together a work group to figure out these technicalities. She said she plans on meeting with Banks next week.

“He and I will discuss who should be in this group,” she said. “(The group) will work out a process of checks and balances.”

The work group will also make sure that SG has the correct oversight to enforce the memorandum’s actions, said Thomas King, student body vice president.

“(It’s about) how do we make the language work in reality,” he said.

Banks said these new processes would require the directors of the different A&S-funded entities to plan accordingly, but that it is essential to make sure the extra steps do not slow the departments down.

“We don’t want to create an unnecessary bureaucracy,” he said. “That’s the challenge when you add another layer of approval.”

Although Banks anticipates that most transfer requests won’t be made until the end of the fall semester, he said these details should be worked out as soon as possible.

One thing the memorandum does not do is resolve the question of who controls the revenue generated by A&S money. SG and Student Affairs have each claimed they should have governance.

SG plans to submit the question to the State Attorney General’s office. SG expects to have the question sent by Friday and an answer is expected 30 days from then, said SG Attorney General Cordell Chavis.

In the meantime, SG will wait. King, however, said he appreciates that Student Affairs is “eager to begin the process and finish the process.”

“Student Government is really excited with creating a partnership with Student Affairs and the University to ensure that student funds are being spent in the best interests (of) and to benefit students,” he said.

Banks said Student Affairs is willing to adhere to the memorandum’s requirements to work with SG in regards to student money.

“That’s another level of scrutiny that we’re subject to,” he said. “In the best interests of transparency, we’re willing to do that.”